Skip to main content

Full text of "Just so stories"

See other formats



:> 'v 

^i?*.^^ ^S^N^X&E; r'^*V^S*y s *r'*<-S^^ 

' ' * 

K ftfii^ 

^-.JB**-^* -^gS-izf*^" 

<^~~ r .* & 


. .? ^ 
N \ -- 

- - ,_ 




3 53333 08103 2456 





How the Whale Got His Throat 




1 > 
I > J 

I > . 

> , ' ' , ' 

T > > > > ' > 

, * ' < 


Copyright, 1912, by Rudyard Kipling 

" lust So Stories," have also been copy- 
lighted separately as follows : How the 
Whale Got His Tiny Throat. Copyright, 

1897, by the Century Company. How the 
Camel Got His Hump. Copyright. 1897, 
by the Century Company. How the Rhin- 
oceros Got His Wrinkly Skin. Copyright, 

1898, by the Century Company. The Ele- 
phant's Child. Copyright, 1900, by Rudyard 
Kipling; Copyright, 1000, by the Curtis 
Publishing Company. The Beginning of the 
Armadillos. Copyright, 1900, by Rudyard 
Kipling. The Sing Song of Old Man Kan- 
garoo. Copyright, 1900 by Rudyrd Kip- 
ling. How the Leopard Got His Spots, 
Copyright, 1901, by Rudyard Kipling. How 
the First Letter Was Written. Copyright, 
1901, by Rudyard Kipling. The Cat That 
Walked by Himself, Copyright, 19*, by 
Rudyard Kipling. 


How the Whale Got His Throat. 
How the Camel Got His Hump 
How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin . 
How the Leopard Got His Spots . 
The Elephant's Child . 
The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo 
The Beginning of the Armadillos 
How the First Letter was Written . 
How the Alphabet was Made 
The Crab that Played with the Sea 
The Cat that Walked by Himself 
The Butterfly that Stamped 

whJ v 











. . 


t t 

* . . " 

.',... . 

111 4 


. < 


up on 

the sea, once upon a time > O 
my Best Beloved, there was a 
Whale, and he ate fishes. He ate 
the starfish and the garfish, and 
the crab and the dab, and the plaice 
and the dace, and the skate and 
his mate, and the mackereel and 
the pickereel, and the really truly 
twirly-whirly eel. All the fishes 
he could find in all the sea he- ate 
with his mouth so ! Till at last 
there was- only one ''small fish left in 
all the sea, and he was a small 'Stute 
/Fish, and he swaifi a little behind the 
Whale's right ear, so as to be out of 
harm's way. Then the Whale stood 
his tail and said, * I'm hungry.' And the 
'Stute Fish said in a small 'stute voice, 

2 Just So Stories 

'Noble and generous Cetacean, have you ever 
tasted Man?' 

1 No,' said the Whale. ' What is it like ? ' 

1 Nice,' said the small 'Stute Fish. 'Nice 
but nubbly.' 

'Then fetch me some,' said the Whale, and 
he made the sea froth up with his tail. 

'One at a time is enough,' said the 'Stute Fish. 
* If you swim to latitude Fifty North, longitude 
Forty West (that is magic), you will find, sitting 
on a raft, in the middle of the sea, with nothing 
on but a pair of blue canvas breeches, a pair of 
suspenders (you must not forget the suspenders, 
Best Beloved), and a jack-knife, one ship- 
wrecked Manner, who, it is only fair to tell 
you, is a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity.' 

So the Whale swam and swam to latitude 
Fifty North, longitude Forty West, as fast as he 
could swim, and on a raft, in the middle of 
the sea, with nothing to wear except a pair of 
blue canvas breeches, a pair of suspenders (you 
must particularly remember the suspenders, Best 
Beloved), and a jack-knife, he found one single, 
solitary shipwrecked Mariner, trailing his toes 
in the water. (He had his mummy's leave to 
paddle, or else he would never have done it, 

How the Whale got his Throat 3 

because he was a man of infinite-resource-and- 

Then the Whale opened his mouth back and 
back and back till it nearly touched his tail, and 
he swallowed the shipwrecked Mariner, and the 
raft he was sitting on, and his blue canvas 
breeches, and the suspenders (which you must 
not forget), and the jack-knife He swallowed 
them all down into his warm, dark, inside cup- 
boards, and then he smacked his lips so, and 
turned round three times on his tail. 

But as soon as the Mariner, who was a man 
of infinite-resource-and-sagacity, found himself 
truly inside the Whale's warm, dark, inside cup- 
boards, he stumped and he jumped and he 
thumped and he bumped, and he pranced and 
he danced, and he banged and he clanged, and 
he hit and he bit, and he leaped and he creeped, 
and he prowled and he howled, and he hopped 
and he dropped, and he cried and he sighed, 
and he crawled and he bawled, and he stepped 
and he lepped, and he danced hornpipes 
where he shouldn't, and the Whale felt most 
unhappy indeed. (Have you forgotten the 
suspenders ?) 

So he said to the 'Stute Fish, 'This man is 

THIS is the picture of the Whale swallowing the Mariner with his infinite- 
resource-and-sagacity, and the raft and the jack-knife and his suspenders, 
which you must not forget. The buttony-things are the Mariner's sus- 
penders, and you can see the knife close by them. He is sitting on the raft, 
but it has tilted up sideways, so you don't see much of it. The whity 
thing by the Mariner's left hand is a piece of wood that he was trying to 
row the raft with when the Whale came along. The piece of wood is 
called the jaws-of-a-gaff. The Mariner left it outside when he went in. 
The Whale's name was Smiler, and the Mariner was called Mr. Henry 
Albert Bivvens, A.B. The little 'Stute Fish is hiding under the Whale's 
tummy, or else I would have drawn him. The reason that the sea looks 
so ooshy-skooshy is because the Whale is sucking it all into his mouth 
so as to suck in Mr. Henry Albert Bivvens and the raft and the jack-knife 
and the suspenders. You must never forget the suspenders. 

How the Whale got his Throat 7 

very nubbly, and besides he is making me 
hiccough. What shall I do ? ' 

' Tell him to come out/ said the 'Stute Fish. 

So the Whale called down his own throat to 
the shipwrecked Mariner, ' Come out and be- 
have yourself. I've got the hiccoughs/ 

' Nay, nay ! ' said the Mariner. * Not so, but 
far otherwise. Take me to my natal-shore and 
the white-cliff s-of- Albion, and I'll think about 
it/ And he began to dance more than ever. 

You had better take him home/ said the 
'Stute Fish to the Whale. *I ought to have 
warned you that he is a man of infinite-resource- 

So the Whale swam and swam and swam, 
with both flippers and his tail, as hard as he 
could for the hiccoughs; and at last he saw the 
Mariner's natal-shore and the white-cliffs-of- 
Albion, and he rushed half-way up the beach, 
and opened his mouth wide and wide and 
wide, and said, * Change here for Winchester, 
Ashuelot, Nashua, Keene, and stations on the 
Fttchburg Road ; ' and just as he said ' Fitch ' 
the Mariner walked out of his mouth. But while 
the Whale had been swimming, the Mariner, who 
was indeed a person of infinite-resource-and- 

HERE is the Whale looking for the little 'Stute Fish, who is hiding under 
the Door-sills of the Equator. The little 'Stute Fish's name was Pingle. 
He is hiding among the roots of the big seaweed that grows in front of 
the Doors of the Equator. I have drawn the Doors of the Equator. They 
are shut. They are always kept shut, because a door ought always to be 
kept shut. The ropy-thing right across is the Equator itself ; and the 
things that look like rocks are the two giants Moar and Koar, that keep 
the Equator in order. They drew the shadow-pictures on the doors of the 
Equator, and they carved all those twisty fishes under the Doors. The 
beaky-fish are called beaked Dolphins, and the other fish with the queer 
heads are called Hammer-headed Sharks. The Whale never found the 
little 'Stute Fish till he got over his temper, and then they became good 
friends again. 


How the Whale got his Throat 1 1 

sagacity, had taken his jack-knife and cut up 
the raft into a little square grating all running 
criss-cross, and he had tied it firm with his 
suspenders (now you know why you were not to 
forget the suspenders!), and he dragged that 
grating good and tight into the Whale's throat, 
and there it stuck ! Then he recited the follow- 
ing Sloka, which, as you have not heard it, I 
will now proceed to relate 

By means of a grating 
I have stopped your ating. 

For the Mariner he was also an Hi-ber-ni-an. 
And he stepped out on the shingle, and went 
home to his mother, who had given him leave 
to trail his toes in the water; and he married 
and lived happily ever afterward. So did the 
Whale. But from that day on, the grating in his 
throat, which he could neither cough up nor 
swallow down, prevented him eating anything 
except very, very small fish ; and that is the 
reason why whales nowadays never eat men or 
boys or little girls. 

The small 'Stute Fish went and hid himself in 
the mud under the Door-sills of the Equator. 
He was afraid that the Whale might be angry 
with him. 


Just So Stories 

The Sailor took the jack-knife home. He 
was wearing the blue canvas breeches when he 
walked out on the shingle. The suspenders 
were left behind, you see, to tie the grating 
with ; and that is the end of that tale. 

WHEN the cabin port-holes are dark and green 

Because of the seas outside ; 

When the ship goes wop (with a wiggle between) 
And the steward falls into the soup-tureen, 

And the trunks begin to slide ; 
When Nursey lies on the floor in a heap, 
And Mummy tells you to let her sleep, 
And you aren't waked or washed or dressed, 
Why, then you will know (if you haven't guessed) 
You're ' Fifty North and Forty West ! ' 




How the Camel Got His Hump 


OW this is the next 
tale, and it tells how 
the Camel got his big 

In the beginning 
of years, when the 
world was so new and 
all, and the Animals 
were just beginning to 
work for Man, there 
was a Camel, and he 
lived in the middle of a Howling Desert be- 
cause he did not want to work ; and besides, 
he was a Howler himself. So he ate sticks 
and thorns and tamarisks and milkweed and 
prickles, most 'scruciating idle ; and when 
anybody spoke to him he said * Humph I ' 
Just ' Humph ! ' and no more. 

1 6 Just So Stories 

Presently the Horse came to him on 
Monday morning, with a saddle on his back and 
a bit in his mouth, and said, ' Camel, O Camel, 
come out and trot like the rest of us.' 

1 Humph ! ' said the Camel ; and the Horse 
went away and told the Man. 

Presently the Dog came to him, with a stick 
in his mouth, and said, ' Camel, O Camel, come 
and fetch and carry like the rest of us.' 

' Humph ! ' said the Camel ; and the Dog 
went away and told the Man. 

Presently the Ox came to him, with the yoke 
on his neck and said, ' Camel, O Camel, come 
and plough like the rest of us.' 

' Humph ! ' said the Camel ; and the Ox went 
away and told the Man. 

At the end of the day the Man called the 
Horse and the Dog and the Ox together, and 
said, Three, O Three, I'm very sorry for you 
(with the world so new-and-all) ; but that 
Humph-thing in the Desert can't work, or he 
would have been here by now, so I am going to 
leave him alone, and you must work double- 
time to make up for it.' 

That made the Three very angry (with the 
world so new-and-all), and they held a palaver. 

How the Camel got his Hump 17 

and an indaba, and a punchayet, and a pow-wow 
on the edge of the Desert; and the Camel 
came chewing milkweed most 'scruciating idle, 
and laughed at them. Then he said ' Humph ! ' 
and went away again. 

Presently there came along the Djinn in 
charge of All Deserts, rolling in a cloud of dust 
(Djinns always travel that way because it is 
Magic), and he stopped to palaver and pow-pow 
with the Three. 

; Djinn of All Deserts/ said the Horse, ' is it 
right for any one to be idle, with the world so 
new-and-all ? ' 

* Certainly not,' said the Djinn. 

* Well/ said the Horse, * there's a thing 
in the middle of your Howling Desert (and 
he's a Howler himself) with a long neck and 
long legs, and he hasn't done a stroke of 
work since Monday morning. He won't 

1 Whew ! ' said the Djinn, whistling, * that's 
my Camel, for all the gold in Arabia! What 
does he say about it ? ' 

' He says " Humph ! " ' said the Dog ; ' and 
he won't fetch and carry.' 

* Does he say anything else ? ' 

THIS is the picture of the Djinn making the beginnings of the Magic 
that brought the Humph to the Camel. First he drew a line in the air 
with his finger, and it became solid ; and then he made a cloud, and then 
he made an egg you can see them both at the bottom of the picture 
and then there was a magic pumpkin that turned into a big white flame. 
Then the Djinn took his magic fan and fanned that flame till the flame 
turned into a jnagic by itself. It was a good Magic and a very kind Magic 
really, though it had to give the Camel a Humph because the Camel was 
lazy. The Djinn in charge of All Deserts was one of the nicest of the 
Djinns, so he would never do anything really unkind. 


How the Camel got his Hump 21 

1 Only ' Humph ! " ; and he won't plough/ 
said the Ox. 

1 Very good,' said the Djinn. * I'll humph 
him if you will kindly wait a minute.' 

The Djinn rolled himself up in his dust- 
cloak, and took a bearing across the desert, 
and found the Camel most 'scruciatingly idle, 
looking at his own reflection in a pool of water. 

' My long and bubbling friend,' said the 
Djinn, ' what's this I hear of your doing no 
work, with the world so new-and-all ? ' 

' Humph ! ' said the Camel. 

The Djinn sat down, with his chin in his 
hand, and began to think a Great Magic, while 
the Camel looked at his own reflection in the 
pool of water. 

You've given the Three extra work ever 
since Monday morning, all on account of your 
'scruciating idleness,' said the Djinn ; and he 
went on thinking Magics, with his chin in 
his hand. 

' Humph ! ' said the Camel. 

' I shouldn't say that again if I were you,' 
said the Djinn; 'you might say it once too 
often. Bubbles, I want you to work.' 

And the Camel said ' Humph ! ' again ; but 

HERE is the picture of the Djinn in charge of All Deserts guiding the 
Magic with his magic fan. The camel is eating a twig of acacia, and he 
has just finished saying ' humph " once too often (the Djinn told him he 
would), and so the Humph is coming. The long towelly-thing growing 
out of the thing like an onion is the Magic, and you can see the Humph 
on its shoulder. The Humph fits on the flat part of the Camel's back. 
The Camel is too busy looking at his own beautiful self in the pool of 
water to know what is going to happen to him. 

Underneath the truly picture is a picture of the World-so-new-and-all. 
There are two smoky volcanoes in it, some other mountains and some 
stones and a lake and a black island and a twisty river and a lot of other 
things, as well as a Noah's Ark. I couldn't draw all the deserts that the 
Djinn was in charge of, so I only drew one, but it is a most deserty desert. 


How the Camel got his Hump 25 

no sooner had he said it than he saw his back, 
that he was so proud of, puffing up and puffing 
up into a great big lolloping humph. 

' Do you see that ? ' said the Djinn. ' That's 
your very own humph that you've brought upon 
your very own self by not working. To-day 
is Thursday, and you've done no work since 
Monday, when the work began. Now you are 
going to work.' 

' How can I,' said the Camel, ' with this 
humph on my back ? ' 

That's made a-purpose,' said the Djinn, ' all 
because you missed those three days. You will 
be able to work now for three days without 
eating, because you can live on your humph ; 
and don't you ever say I never did anything for 
you. Come out of the Desert and go to the 
Three, and behave. Hump'i yourself! ' 

And the Camel humphed himself, humph 
and all, and went away to join the Three. And 
from that day to this the Camel always wears a 
humph (we call it ' hump ' now, not to hurt 
his feelings) ; but he has never yet caught up 
with the three days that he missed at the begin- 
ning of the world, and he has never yet learned 
how to behave. 

THE Camel's hump is an ugly lump 
Which well you may see at the Zoo ; 

But uglier yet is the hump we get 
From having too little to do. 

Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo, 
If we haven't enough to do-oo-oo, 

We get the hump 

Cameelious hump 
The hump that is black and blue ! 

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head 

And a snarly-yarly voice. 
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl 

At our bath and our boots and our toys ; 

And there ought to be a corner for me 
(And I know there is one for you) 

When we get the hump 

Cameelious hump 
The hump that is black and blue ! 

The cure for this ill is not to sit still, 

Or frowst with a book by the fire ; 
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also, 

And dig till you gently perspire ; 

And then you will find that the sun and the wind, 
And the Djinn of the Garden too, 

Have lifted the hump 

The horrible hump 
The hump that is black and blue ! 

I get it as well as you-oo-oo 
If I haven't enough to do-oo-oo 

We all get hump 

Cameelious hump 
Kiddies and grown-ups too ! 


How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin 



NCE upon a time, on an 
uninhabited island on 
the shores of the Red 
Sea, there lived a Parsee 
from whose hat the rays 
of the sun were reflected 
in more - than - oriental 
splendour. And the 
Parsee lived by the Red 
Sea with nothing but his 
hat and his knife and a 
cooking - stove of the 

kind that you must particularly never touch. 
And one day he took flour and water and cur- 
rants and plums and sugar and things, and made 
himself one cake which was two feet across and 
three feet thick. It was indeed a Superior 


30 Just So Stories 

Comestible (that's magic), and he put it on the 
stove because he was allowed to cook on that 
stove, and he baked it and he baked it till it 
was all done brown and smelt most sentimental. 
But just as he was going to eat it there came 
down to the beach from the Altogether Unin- 
habited Interior one Rhinoceros with a horn on 
his nose, two piggy eyes, and few manners. In 
those days the Rhinoceros's skin fitted him 
quite tight. There were no wrinkles in it any- 
where. He looked exactly like a Noah's Ark 
Rhinoceros, but of course much bigger. All 
the same, he had no manners then, and he has 
no manners now, and he never will have any 
manners. He said, ' How ! ' and the Parsee left 
that cake and climbed to the top of a palm tree 
with nothing on but his hat, from which the 
rays of the sun were always reflected in more- 
than-oriental splendour. And the Rhinoceros 
upset the oil-stove with his nose, and the cake 
rolled on the sand, and he spiked that cake on 
the horn of his nose, and he ate it, and he went 
away, waving his tail, to the desolate and Ex- 
clusively Uninhabited Interior which abuts on 
the islands of Mazanderan, Socotra, and the 
Promontories of the Larger Equinox. Then the 

How the Rhino got his Skin 31 

Parsee came down from his palm-tree and put 
the stove on its legs and recited the following 
Sloka, which, as you have not heard, I will now 
proceed to relate : 

Them that takes cakes 
Which the Parsee-man bakes 
Makes dreadful mistakes. 

And there was a great deal more in that than 
you would think. 

Because, five weeks later, there was a heat- 
wave in the Red Sea, and everybody took off 
all the clothes they had. The Parsee took off 
his hat ; but the Rhinoceros took off his skin 
and carried it over his shoulder as he came down 
to the beach to bathe. In those days it buttoned 
underneath with three buttons and looked like 
a waterproof. He said nothing whatever about 
the Parsee's cake, because he had eaten it all; 
and he never had any manners, then, since, 
or henceforward. He waddled straight into 
the water and blew bubbles through his nose, 
leaving his skin on the beach. 

Presently the Parsee came by and found the 
skin, and he smiled one smile that ran all round 
his face two times. Then he danced three 
times round the skin and rubbed his hands. 

THIS is the picture of the Parsee beginning to eat his cake on the 
Uninhabited Island in the Red Sea on a very hot day; and of the 
Rhinoceros coming down from the Altogether Uninhabited Interior, 
which, as you can truthfully see, is all rocky. The Rhinoceros's skin 
is quite smooth, and the three buttons that button it up are under- 
neath, so you can't see them. The squiggly things on the Parsee's 
hat are the rays of the sun reflected in more-than-oriental splendour, 
because if I had drawn real rays they would have filled up all the picture. 
The cake has currants in it ; and the wheel-thing lying on the sand in 
front belonged to one of Pharaoh's chariots when he tried to cross the 
Red Sea. The Parsee found it, and kept it to play with. The Parsee's 
name was Pestonjee Bomonjee, and the Rhinoceros was called Strorks, 
because he breathed through his mouth instead of his nose. I wouldn't 
ask anything about the cooking-stove if / were you. 

* V 1 ' V\\,v X -.",'. 'fcifr v^.Tk, 

C- .'*V-\ vi > Ss-WV XK x 


lV.^,x .i**J>\ f X. r V * 

How the Rhino got his Skin 35 

Then he went to his camp and filled his hat 
with cake-crumbs, for the Parsee never ate any- 
thing but cake, and never swept out his camp. 
He took that skin, and he shook that skin, and 
he scrubbed that skin, and he rubbed that skin 
just as full of old, dry, stale, tickly cake-crumbs 
and some burned currants as ever it could 
possibly hold. Then he climbed to the top of 
his palm-tree and waited for the Rhinoceros to 
come out of the water and put it on. 

And the Rhinoceros did. He buttoned it up 
with the three buttons, and it tickled like cake- 
crumbs in bed. Then he wanted to scratch, 
but that made it worse ; and then he lay down 
on the sands and rolled and rolled and rolled, 
and every time he rolled the cake crumbs tickled 
him worse and worse and worse. Then he ran 
to the palm-tree and rubbed and rubbed and 
rubbed himself against it. He rubbed so much 
and so hard that he rubbed his skin into a great 
fold over his shoulders, and another fold under- 
neath, where the buttons used to be (but he 
rubbed the buttons off), and he rubbed some 
more folds over his legs. And it spoiled his 
temper, but it didn't make the least difference 
to the cake-crumbs. They were inside his skin 

THIS is the Parsee Pestonjee Bomonjee sitting in his palm-tree and watch- 
ing the Rhinoceros Strorks bathing near the beach of the Altogether 
Uninhabited Island after Strorks had taken off his skin. The Parsee has 
put the cake-crumbs into the skin, and he is smiling to think how they 
will tickle Strorks when Strorks puts it on again. The skin is just under 
the rocks below the palm-tree in a cool place ; that is why you can't see 
it. The Parsee is wearing a new more-than-oriental-splendour hat of the 
sort that Parsees wear ; and he has a knife in his hand to cut his name on 
palm-trees. The black things on the islands out at sea are bits of ships 
that got wrecked going down the Red Sea ; but all the passengers were 
saved and went home. 

The black thing in the water close to the shore is not a wreck at all. 
It is Strorks the Rhinoceros bathing without his skin. He was just as 
black underneath his skin as he was outside. I wouldn't ask anything 
about the cooking-stove if / were you. 


How the Rhino got his Skin 39 

and they tickled. So he went home, very angry 
indeed and horribly scratchy ; and from that 
day to this every rhinoceros has great folds in 
his skin and a very bad temper, all on account 
of the cake-crumbs inside. 

But the Parsee came down from his palm- 
tree, wearing his hat, from which the rays of the 
sun were reflected in more-than-oriental splen- 
dour, packed up his cooking-stove, and went 
away in the direction of Orotavo, Amygdala, 
the Upland Meadows of Anantarivo, and the 
Marshes of Sonaput. 

THIS Uninhabited Island 

Is off Cape Gardafui, 
By the Beaches of Socotra 

And the Pink Arabian Sea: 
But it's hot too hot from Suez 
For the likes of you and me 
Ever to go 
In a P. and O. 
And call on the Cake-Parsee ! 

How the Leopard Got His Spots 


|N the days when everybody started 
fair, Best Beloved, the Leopard lived 
in a place called the High Veldt. 
'Member it wasn't the Low Veldt, 
or the Bush Veldt, or the Sour 
Veldt, but the 'sclusively bare, hot, 
shiny High Veldt, where there was 
sand and sandy -coloured rock and 
'sclusively tufts of sandy - yellowish 
rass ' The Giraffe and the Zebra 
and the Eland and the Koodoo and 
the Hartebeest lived there ; and 
they were 'sclusively sandy - yellow- 
brownish all over; but the Leopard, 
he was the 'sclusivest sandiest- 
yellowish - brownest of them all 
a greyish-yellowish catty-shaped kind of beast, 
and he matched the 'sclusively yellowish - 


44 Just So Stories 

greyish - brownish colour of the High Veldt to 
one hair. This was very bad for the Giraffe 
and the Zebra and the rest of them ; for he 
would lie down by a 'sclusively yellowish - 
greyish - brownish stone or clump of grass, and 
when the Giraffe or the Zebra or the Eland or 
the Koodoo or the Bush -Buck or the Bonte- 
Buck came by he would surprise them out of 
their jumpsome lives. He would indeed ! 
And, also, there was an Ethiopian with bows 
and arrows (a 'sclusively greyish - brownish - 
yellowish man he was then), who lived on the 
High Veldt with the Leopard ; and the two 
used to hunt together the Ethiopian with his 
bows and arrows, and the Leopard 'sclusively 
with his teeth and claws till the Giraffe and 
the Eland and the Koodoo and the Quagga 
and all the rest of them didn't know which 
way to jump, Best Beloved. They didn't 
indeed ! 

After a long time things lived for ever so 
long in those days they learned to avoid 
anything that looked like a Leopard or an 
Ethiopian ; and bit by bit the Giraffe began 
it, because his legs were the longest they 
went away from the High Veldt. They scuttled 

How the Leopard got his Spots 45 

for days and days and days till they came to a 
great forest, delusively full of trees and bushes 
and stripy, speckly, patchy -blatchy shadows, 
and there they hid : and after another long 
time, what with standing half in the shade and 
half out of it, and what with the slippery - slidy 
shadows of the trees falling on them, the Giraffe 
grew blotchy, and the Zebra grew stripy, and 
the Eland and the Koodoo grew darker, with 
little wavy grey lines on their backs like bark 
on a tree trunk ; and so, though you could hear 
them and smell them, you could very seldom see 
them, and then only when you knew precisely 
where to look. They had a beautiful time in 
the delusively speckly -spickly shadows of the 
forest, while the Leopard and the Ethiopian ran 
about over the delusively greyish - yellowish - 
reddish High 'Veldt outside, wondering where all 
their breakfasts and their dinners and their teas 
had gone. At last they were so hungry that 
they ate rats and beetles and rock -rabbits, the 
Leopard and the Ethiopian, and then they had 
the Big Tummy-ache, both together; and then 
they met Baviaan the dog -headed, barking 
Baboon, who is Quite the Wisest Animal in All 
South Africa. 

THIS is Wise Baviaan, the dog-headed Baboon, Who is Quite the Wisest 
Animal in All South Africa. I have drawn him from a statue that I made 
up out of my own head, and I have written his name on his belt and on 
his shoulder and on the thing he is sitting on. I have written it in what 
is not called Coptic and Hieroglyphic and Cuneiformic and Bengalic and 
Burmic and Hebric, all because he is so wise. He is not beautiful, but 
he is very wise ; and I should like to paint him with paint-box colours, 
but I am not allowed. The umbrella-ish thing about his head is his 
Conventional Mane. 


How the Leopard got his Spots 49 

Said Leopard to Baviaan (and it was a very 
hot day), " Where has all the game gone ? ' 

And Baviaan winked. He knew. 

Said the Ethiopian to Baviaan, * Can you 
tell me the present habitat of the aboriginal 
Fauna ? ' (That meant just the same thing, but 
the Ethiopian always used long words. He was 
a grown-up.) 

And Baviaan winked. He knew. 

Then said Baviaan, The game has gone 
into other spots ; and my advice to you, Leopard, 
is to go into other spots as soon as you can/ 

And the Ethiopian said, That is all very 
fine, but I wish to know whither the aboriginal 
Fauna has migrated. 7 

Then said Baviaan, ; The aboriginal Fauna 
has joined the aboriginal Flora because it was 
high time for a change; and my advice to you, 
Ethiopian, is to change as soon as you can/ 

That puzzled the Leopard and the Ethiopian, 
but they set off to look for the aboriginal Flora, 
and presently, after ever so many days, they 
saw a great, high, tall forest full of tree trunks 
all 'sclusively speckled and sprottled and 
spottled, dotted and splashed and slashed and 
hatched and cross-hatched with shadows. (Say 

5O Just So Stories 

that quickly aloud, and you will see how very 
shadowy the forest must have been.) 

What is this,' said the Leopard, ' that is so 
'sclusively dark, and yet so full of little pieces of 
light ? ' 

I don't know/ said the Ethiopian, ' but it 
ought to be the aboriginal Flora. I can smell 
Giraffe, and I can hear Giraffe, but I can't see 

That's curious,' said the Leopard. ' I 
suppose it is because we have just come in out 
of the sunshine. I can smell Zebra, and I can 
hear Zebra, but I can't see Zebra.' 

1 Wait a bit,' said the Ethiopian. ' It's a 
long time since we've hunted 'em. Perhaps 
we've forgotten what they were like.' 

Fiddle ! ' said the Leopard. ' I remember 
them perfectly on the High Veldt, especially 
their marrow-bones. Giraffe is about seventeen 
feet high, of a 'sclusively fulvous golden-yellow 
from head to heel ; and Zebra is about four 
and a half feet high, of a 'sclusively grey-fawn 
colour from head to heel.' 

1 Umm,' said the Ethiopian, looking into 
the speckly-spickly shadows of the aboriginal 
Flora-forest. ' Then they ought to show up 

How the Leopard got his Spots 51 

in this dark place like ripe bananas in a smoke- 

But they didn't. The Leopard and the 
Ethiopian hunted all day ; and though they 
could smell them and hear them, they never saw 
one of them. 

' For goodness' sake,' said the Leopard at 
tea-time, * let us wait till it gets dark. This 
daylight hunting is a perfect scandal.' 

So they waited till dark, and then the 
Leopard heard something breathing sniffily in 
the starlight that fell all stripy through the 
branches, and he jumped at the noise, and it 
smelt like Zebra, and it felt like Zebra, and 
when he knocked it down it kicked like 
Zebra, but he couldn't see it. So he said, 
' Be quiet, O you person without any form. 
I am going to sit on your head till morning, 
because there is something about you that I 
don't understand.' 

Presently he heard a grunt and a crash and 
a scramble, and the Ethiopian called out, * I've 
caught a thing that I can't see. It smells like 
Giraffe, and it kicks like Giraffe, but it hasn't 
any form.' 

* Don't you trust it,' said the Leopard. 

52 Just So Stories 

' Sit on its head till the morning same as me. 
They haven't any form any of 'em.' 

So they sat down on them hard till bright 
morning-time, and then Leopard said, What 
have you at your end of the table, Brother ? ' 

The Ethiopian scratched his head and said, 

* It ought to be 'sclusively a rich fulvous orange- 
tawny from head to heel, and it ought to be 
Giraffe ; but it is covered all over with chestnut 
blotches. What have you at your end of the 
table, Brother? ' 

And the Leopard scratched his head and said, 

* It ought to be 'sclusively a delicate greyish- 
fawn, and it ought to be Zebra; but it is 
covered all over with black and purple stripes. 
What in the world have you been doing to 
yourself, Zebra ? Don't you know that if you 
were on the High Veldt I could see you ten 
miles off? You haven't any form.' 

'Yes,' said the Zebra, 'but this isn't the 
High Veldt. Can't you see ? ' 

' I can now/ said the Leopard. * But I 
couldn't all yesterday. How is it done ? ' 

'Let us up,' said the Zebra, 'and we will 
show you.' 

How the Leopard got his Spots 53 

They let the Zebra and the Giraffe get up ; 
and Zebra moved away to some little thorn- 
bushes where the sunlight fell all stripy, and 
Giraffe moved off to some tallish trees where 
the shadows fell all blotchy. 

1 Now watch,' said the Zebra and the 
Giraffe. This is the way it's done. One 
two three ! And where's your breakfast ? ' 

Leopard stared, and Ethiopian stared, but all 
they could see were stripy shadows and blotched 
shadows in the forest, but never a sign of Zebra 
and Giraffe. They had just walked off and 
hidden themselves in the shadowy forest. 

'Hi! Hi!' said the Ethiopian. ' That's a 
trick worth learning. Take a lesson by it, 
Leopard. You show up in this dark place 
like a bar of soap in a coal-scuttle.' 

* Ho ! Ho ! ' said the Leopard. ' Would it 
surprise you very much to know that you show 
up in this dark place like a mustard-plaster on 
a sack of coals ? ' 

Well, calling names won't catch dinner, 
said the Ethiopian. The long and the little of 
it is that we don't match our backgrounds. I'm 
going to take Baviaan's advice. He told 
me I ought to change ; and as I've nothing 

54 Just So Stories 

to change except my skin I'm going to change 

What to ? ' said the Leopard, tremend- 
ously excited. 

To a nice working blackish - brownish 
colour, with a little purple in it, and touches of 
slaty-blue. It will be the very thing for hiding 
in hollows and behind trees/ 

So he changed his skin then and there, and 
the Leopard was more excited than ever ; he 
had never seen a man change his skin before. 

* But what about me ? ' he said, when the 
Ethiopian had worked his last little finger into 
his fine new black skin. 

You take Baviaan's advice too. He told 
you to go into spots/ 

' So I did,' said the Leopard. * I went into 
other spots as fast as I could. I went into 
this spot with you, and a lot of good it has 
done me/ 

' Oh/ said the Ethiopian, ' Baviaan didn't 
mean spots in South Africa. He meant spots 
on your skin/ 

What's the use of that?' said the Leopard. 

'Think of Giraffe,' said the Ethiopian. 'Or 

if you prefer stripes, think of Zebra. They 

How the Leopard got his Spots 55 

find their spots and stripes give them per-fect 

Umm/ said the Leopard. ' I wouldn't 
look like Zebra not for ever so/ 

Well, make up your mind/ said the 
Ethiopian, ' because I'd hate to go hunting 
without you, but I must if you insist on looking 
like a sun-flower against a tarred fence.' 

* I'll take spots, then,' said the Leopard; 'but 
don't make 'em too vulgar-big. I wouldn't 
look like Giraffe not for ever so/ 

* I'll make 'em with the tips of my fingers/ 
said the Ethiopian. 'There's plenty of black 
left on my skin still. Stand over ! ' 

Then the Ethiopian put his five fingers close 
together (there was plenty of black left on his 
new skin still) and pressed them all over the 
Leopard, and wherever the five fingers touched 
they left five little black marks, all close to- 
gether. You can see them on any Leopard's 
skin you like, Best Beloved. Sometimes the 
fingers slipped and the marks got a little blurred ; 
but if you look closely at any Leopard now you 
will see that there are always five spots off 
five fat black finger-tips. 

* Now you are a beauty ! ' said the Ethiopian. 

THIS is the picture of the Leopard and the Ethiopian after they had 
taken Wise Baviaan's advice and the Leopard had gone into other spots 
and the Ethiopian had changed his skin. The Ethiopian was really a negro, 
and so his name was Sambo. The Leopard was called Spots, and he has 
been called Spots ever since. They are out hunting in the spickly-speckly 
forest, and they are looking for Mr. One - Two - Three - Where's - your - 
Breakfast. If you look a little you will see Mr. One - Two -Three not 
far away. The Ethiopian has hidden behind a splotchy - blotchy tree 
because it matches his skin, and the Leopard is lying beside a spickly- 
speckly bank of stones because it matches his spots. Mr. One-Two- 
Three-Where's-your-Breakfast is standing up eating leaves from a toll 
tree. This is really a puzzle-picture like ' Find the Cat.' 

How the Leopard got his Spots 59 

; You can lie out on the bare ground and look 
like a heap of pebbles. You can lie out on the 
naked rocks and look like a piece of pudding- 
stone. You can lie out on a leafy branch and 
look like sunshine sifting through the leaves ; 
and you can lie right across the centre of a path 
and look like nothing in particular. Think of 
that and purr ! ' 

* But if I'm all this/ said the Leopard, 'why 
didn't you go spotty too ? ' 

* Oh, plain black's best for a nigger,' said the 
Ethiopian. ' Now come along and we'll see if 
we can't get even with Mr. One-Two-Three- 
Where's-your-Breakfast ! ' 

So they went away and lived happily ever 
afterward, Best Beloved. That is all. 

Oh, now and then you will hear grown-ups 
say, 'Can the Ethiopian change his skin or 
the Leopard his spots ? ' I don't think even 
grown - ups would keep on saying such a 
silly thing if the Leopard and the Ethiopian 
hadn't done it once do you ? But they will 
never do it again, Best Beloved. They are 
quite contented as they are. 

I AM the Most Wise Baviaan, saying in most wise tones, 

' Let us melt into the landscape just us two by our lones.' 

People have come in a carriage calling. But Mummy is 

there. . . . 

Yes, I can go if you take me Nurse says she don't care. 
Let's go up to the pig-sties and sit on the farmyard rails ! 
Let's say things to the bunnies, and watch 'em skitter their tails ! 
Let's oh, anything, daddy, so long as it's you and me, 
And going truly exploring, and not being in till tea ! 
Here's your boots (I've brought 'em), and here's your cap and 

And here's your pipe and tobacco. Oh, come along out of it 



The Elephant's Child 


N the High and Far-Off 
Times the Elephant, O 
Best Beloved, had no 
trunk. He had only a 
blackish, bulgy nose, as 
big as a boot, that he 
could wriggle about 
from side to side ; but 
he couldn't pick up 
things with it. But 
there was one Elephant a new Elephant an 
Elephant's Child who was full of 'satiable 
curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so 
many questions. And he lived in Africa, and 
he filled all Africa with his 'satiable curtiosities. 
He asked his tall aunt, the Ostrich, why her 
tail-feathers grew just so, and his tall aunt the 
Ostrich spanked him with her hard, hard claw. 


64 Just So Stories 

He asked his tall uncle, the Giraffe, what made 
his skin spotty, and his tall uncle, the Giraffe, 
spanked him with his hard, hard hoof. And 
still he was full of 'satiable curtiosity ! He 
asked his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, why 
her eyes were red, and his broad aunt, the Hip- 
popotamus, spanked him with her broad, broad 
hoof ; and he asked his hairy uncle, the Baboon, 
why melons tasted just so, and his hairy uncle, 
the Baboon, spanked him with his hairy, hairy 
paw. And still he was full of 'satiable curtiosity ! 
He asked questions about everything that he 
saw, or heard, or felt, or smelt, or touched, and 
all his uncles and his aunts spanked him. And 
still he was full of 'satiable curtiosity ! 

One fine morning in the middle of the 
Precession of the Equinoxes this 'satiable 
Elephant's Child asked a new fine question 
that he had never asked before. He asked, 
What does the Crocodile have for dinner ? ' 
Then everybody said, Hush ! ' in a loud and 
dretful tone, and they spanked him immediately 
and directly, without stopping, for a long time. 

By and by, when that was finished, he came 
upon Kolokolo Bird sitting in the middle of a 
wait-a-bit thorn-bush, and he said, ' My father 

The Elephant's Child 65 

has spanked me, and my mother has spanked 
me ; all my aunts and uncles have spanked me 
for my 'satiable curtiosity; and still I want to 
know what the Crocodile has for dinner ! ' 

Then Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful 
cry, ' Go to the banks of the great grey-green, 
greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever- 
trees, and find out/ 

That very next morning, when there was 
nothing left of the Equinoxes, because the Pre- 
cession had preceded according to precedent, this 
'satiable Elephant's Child took a hundred pounds 
of bananas (the little short red kind), and a 
hundred pounds of sugar-cane (the long purple 
kind), and seventeen melons (the greeny-crackly 
kind), and said to all his dear families, * Good- 
bye. I am going to the great grey-green, greasy 
Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to 
find out what the Crocodile has for dinner.' 
And they all spanked him once more for luck, 
though he asked them most politely to stop. 

Then he went away, a little warm, but not 
at all astonished, eating melons, and throwing 
the rind about, because he could not pick it up. 

He went from Graham's Town to Kimberley, 
and from Kimberley to Khama's Country, and 

66 Just So Stories 

from Khama's Country he went east by north, 
eating melons all the time, till at last he came 
to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy 
Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, 
precisely as Kolokolo Bird had said. 

Now you must know and understand, O 
Best Beloved, that till that very week, and day, 
and hour, and minute, this 'satiable Elephant's 
Child had never seen a Crocodile, and did not 
know what one was like. It was all his 'satiable 

The first thing that he found was a Bi- 
Coloured- Python -Rock -Snake curled round a 

'Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child most 
politely, ' but have you seen such a thing as a 
Crocodile in these promiscuous parts ? ' 

' Have I seen a Crocodile ? ' said the Bi- 
Coloured - Python - Rock - Snake, in a voice of 
dretful scorn. What will you ask me next ? ' 

'Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child, ' but 
could you kindly tell me what he has for dinner ? ' 

Then the Bi - Coloured - Python - Rock - 
Snake uncoiled himself very quickly from the 
rock, and spanked the Elephant's Child with his 
scalesome, flailsome tail. 

The Elephant's Child 67 

'That is odd,' said the Elephant's Child, 
1 because my father and my mother, and my 
uncle and my aunt, not to mention my other 
aunt, the Hippopotamus, and my other uncle, the 
Baboon, have all spanked me for my 'satiable 
curtiosity and I suppose this is the same thing/ 

So he said good-bye very politely to the Bi- 
Coloured- Python -Rock -Snake, and helped to 
coil him up on the rock again, and went on, a 
little warm, but not at all astonished, eating 
melons, and throwing the rind about, because 
he could not pick it up, till he trod on what 
he thought was a log of wood at the very edge 
of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, 
all set about with fever-trees. 

But it was really the Crocodile, O Best Beloved, 
and the Crocodile winked one eye like this ! 

'Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child most 
politely, ' but do you happen to have seen a 
Crocodile in these promiscuous parts ? ' 

Then the Crocodile winked the other eye, 
and lifted half his tail out of the mud; and the 
Elephant's Child stepped back most politely, 
because he did not wish to be spanked again. 

1 Come hither, Little One,' said the Croco- 
dile. * Why do you ask such things ? ' 

68 Just So Stories 

' 'Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child most 
politely, ; but my father has spanked me, my 
mother has spanked me, not to mention my tall 
aunt, the Ostrich, and my tall uncle, the 
Giraffe, who can kick ever so hard, as well as 
my broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, and my 
hairy uncle, the Baboon, and including the 
Bi - Coloured - Python - Rock- Snake, with the 
scalesome, flailsome tail, just up the bank, who 
spanks harder than any of them ; and so, if it's 
quite all the same to you, I don't want to be 
spanked any more.' 

1 Come hither, Little One/ said the Croco- 
dile, ' for I am the Crocodile/ and he wept 
crocodile-tears to show it was quite true. 

Then the Elephant's Child grew all breath- 
less, and panted, and kneeled down on the bank 
and said, You are the very person I have 
been looking for all these long days. Will you 
please tell me what you have for dinner ? ' 

* Come hither, Little One/ said the Croco- 
dile, l and I'll whisper.' 

Then the Elephant's Child put his head 
down close to the Crocodile's musky, tusky 
mouth, and the Crocodile caught him by his 
little nose, which up to that very week, day, 

The Elephant's Child 69 

hour, and minute, had been no bigger than a 
boot, though much more useful. 

' I think, said the Crocodile and he said it 
between his teeth, like this ' I think to-day I 
will begin with Elephant's Child ! ' 

At this, O Best Beloved, the Elephant's Child 
was much annoyed, and he said, speaking through 
his nose, like this, * Led go ! You are hurtig be ! ' 

Then the Bi- Coloured -Python -Rock -Snake 
scuffled down from the bank and said, ' My 
young friend, if you do not now, immediately 
and instantly, pull as hard as ever you can, it is 
my opinion that your acquaintance in the large- 
pattern leather ulster ' (and by this he meant the 
Crocodile) ' will jerk you into yonder limpid 
stream before you can say Jack Robinson.' 

This is the way Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock- 
Snakes always talk. 

Then the Elephant's Child sat back on his 
little haunches, and pulled, and pulled, and 
pulled, and his nose began to stretch. And the 
Crocodile floundered into the water, making it 
all creamy with great sweeps of his tail, and he 
pulled, and pulled, and pulled. 

And the Elephant's Child's nose kept on 
stretching ; and the Elephant's Child spread all 

70 Just So Stories 

his little four legs and pulled, and pulled, and 
pulled, and his nose kept on stretching ; and 
the Crocodile threshed his tail like an oar, and 
he pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and at each 
pull the Elephant's Child's nose grew longer 
and longer and it hurt him hijjus ! 

Then the Elephant's Child felt his legs slip- 
ping, and he said through his nose, which was now 
nearly five feet long, This is too butch for be ! ' 

Then the Bi- Coloured -Python -Rock -Snake 
came down from the bank, and knotted himself 
in a double- clove -hitch round the Elephant's 
Child's hind legs, and said, ' Rash and inexperi- 
enced traveller, we will now seriously devote 
ourselves to a little high tension, because if we 
do not, it is my impression that yonder self- 
propelling man-of-war with the armour-plated 
upper deck ' (and by this, O Best Beloved, he 
meant the Crocodile), * will permanently vitiate 
your future career.' 

That is the way all Bi -Coloured- Python - 
Rock -Snakes always talk. 

So he pulled, and the Elephant's Child 
pulled, and the Crocodile pulled ; but the 
Elephant's Child and the Bi-Coloured-Python- 
Rock-Snake pulled hardest ; and at last the 

The Elephant's Child 71 

Crocodile let go of the Elephant's Child's nose 
with a plop that you could hear all up and 
down the Limpopo. 

Then the Elephant's Child sat down most 
hard and sudden ; but first he was careful to say 
Thank you ' to the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock- 
Snake ; and next he was kind to his poor pulled 
nose, and wrapped it all up in cool banana 
leaves, and hung it in the great grey-green, 
greasy Limpopo to cool. 

* What are you doing that for ? ' said the Bi- 

' 'Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child, * but 
my nose is badly out of shape, and I am waiting 
for it to shrink.' 

'Then you will have to wait a long time/ 
said the Bi - Coloured - Python - Rock - Snake. 
' Some people do not know what is good for 

The Elephant's Child sat there for three 
days waiting for his nose to shrink. But it 
never grew any shorter, and, besides, it made 
him squint. For, O Best Beloved, you will 
see and understand that the Crocodile had 
pulled it out into a really truly trunk same as 
all Elephants have to-day. 

THIS is the Elephant's Child having his nose pulled by the Crocodile. 
He is much surprised and astonished and hurt, and he is talking through 
his nose and saying, ' Led go ! You are hurtig be ! ' He is pulling very 
hard, and so is the Crocodile ; but the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake is 
hurrying through the water to help the Elephant's Child. All that black 
stuff is the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River (but I am 
not allowed to paint these pictures), and the bottly-tree with the twisty 
roots and the eight leaves is one of the fever trees that grow there. 

Underneath the truly picture are shadows of African animals walking 
into an African ark. There are two lions, two ostriches, two oxen, two 
camels, two sheep, and two other things that look like rats, but I think 
they are rock-rabbits. They don't mean anything. I put them in 
because I thought they looked pretty. They would look very fine if I 
were allowed to paint them. 



The Elephant's Child 75 

At the end of the third day a fly came and 
stung him on the shoulder, and before he knew 
what he was doing he lifted up his trunk and 
hit that fly dead with the end of it. 

'Vantage number one ! ' said the Bi- 
Coloured - Python - Rock - Snake. ' You couldn't 
have done that with a mere-smear nose. Try 
and eat a little now.' 

Before he thought what he was doing the 
Elephant's Child put out his trunk and plucked 
a large bundle of grass, dusted it clean against 
his fore-legs, and stuffed it into his own mouth. 
'Vantage number two ! ' said the Bi - 
Coloured -Python -Rock -Snake. You couldn't 
have done that with a mear-smear nose. Don't 
you think the sun is very hot here ? ' 

' It is,' said the Elephant's Child, and before 
he thought what he was doing he schlooped up 
a schloop of mud from the banks of the great 
grey-green, greasy Limpopo, and slapped it on 
his head, where it made a cool schloopy-sloshy 
mud-cap all trickly behind his ears. 

* 'Vantage number three ! ' said the Bi - 
Coloured - Python- Rock- Snake. ; You couldn't 
have done that with a mere-smear nose. Now 
how do you feel about being spanked again ? ' 

76 Just So Stories 

'Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child, * but 
I should not like it at all.' 

How would you like to spank somebody ? ' 
said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. 

' 1 should like it very much indeed,' said the 
Elephant's Child. 

1 Well/ said the Bi- Coloured -Python -Rock - 
Snake, ' you will find that new nose of yours 
very useful to spank people with.' 

' Thank you,' said the Elephant's Child, ' I'll 
remember that; and now I think I'll go home 
to all my dear families and try.' 

So the Elephant's Child went home across 
Africa frisking and whisking his trunk. When 
he wanted fruit to eat he pulled fruit down 
from a tree, instead of waiting for it to fall as 
he used to do. When he wanted grass he 
plucked grass up from the ground, instead of 
going on his knees as he used to do. When 
the flies bit him he broke off the branch 
of a tree and used it as a fly-whisk ; and 
he made himself a new, cool, slushy-squshy 
mud-cap whenever the sun was hot. When 
he felt lonely walking through Africa he 
sang to himself down his trunk, and the 
noise was louder than several brass bands. 

The Elephant's Child 77 

He went especially out of his way to find a 
broad Hippopotamus (she was no relation of 
his), and he spanked her very hard, to make 
sure that the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake 
had spoken the truth about his new trunk. 
The rest of the time he picked up the melon 
rinds that he had dropped on his way to the 
Limpopo for he was a Tidy Pachyderm. 

One dark evening he came back to all his 
dear families, and he coiled up his trunk and 
said, * How do you do ? ' They were very glad 
to see him, and immediately said, * Come here 
and be spanked for your 'satiable curtiosity.' 

'Pooh,' said the Elephant's Child. 'I don't 
think you peoples know anything about spank- 
ing; but / do, and I'll show you.' 

Then he uncurled his trunk and knocked 
two of his dear brothers head over heels. 

* O Bananas ! ' said they, ' where did you 
learn that trick, and what have you done to 
your nose ? ' 

' I got a new one from the Crocodile on the 
banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo 
River,' said the Elephant's Child. ' I asked 
him what he had for dinner, and he gave me 
this to keep.' 

THIS is just a picture of the Elephant's Child going to pull bananas 
off a banana-tree after he had got his fine new long trunk. I don't think 
it is a very nice picture ; but I couldn't make it any better, because 
elephants and bananas are hard to draw. The streaky things behind the 
Elephant's Child mean squoggy marshy country somewhere in Africa. 
The Elephant's Child made most of his mud-cakes out of the mud that 
he found there. I think it would look better if you painted the banana- 
tree green and the Elephant's Child red. 


The Elephant's Child 81 

' It looks very ugly,' said his hairy uncle, 
the Baboon. 

* It does/ said the Elephant's Child. * But 
it's very useful/ and he picked up his hairy 
uncle, the Baboon, by one hairy leg, and hove 
him into a hornet's nest. 

Then that bad Elephant's Child spanked all 
his dear families for a long time, till they were 
very warm and greatly astonished. He pulled 
out his tall Ostrich aunt's tail-feathers ; and he 
caught his tall uncle, the Giraffe, by the hind- 
leg, and dragged him through a thorn-bush ; 
and he shouted at his broad aunt, the Hippo- 
potamus, and blew bubbles into her ear when 
she was sleeping in the water after meals; but 
he never let any one touch Kolokolo Bird. 

At last things grew so exciting that his dear 
families went off one by one in a hurry to the 
banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo 
River, all set about with fever-trees, to borrow 
new noses from the Crocodile. When they came 
back nobody spanked anybody any more; and 
ever since that day, O Best Beloved, all the 
Elephants you will ever see, besides all those 
that you won't, have trunks precisely like the 
trunk of the 'satiable Elephant's Child. 

** J. 

I KEEP six honest serving-men j 

(They taught me all I knew) 
Their names are What and Where and When 

And How and Where and Who. 
I send them over land and sea, 

I send them east and west ; 
But after they have worked for me, 

/ give them all a rest. 

/ let them rest from nine till five. 

For I am busy then, 
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea, 

For they are hungry men : 
But different folk have different views ; 

I know a person small 
She keeps ten million serving-men, 

Who get no rest at all ! 
She sends 'em abroad on her own affairs. 

From the second she opens her eyes 
One million Hows, two million Wheres, 

And seven million Whys ! 

The Sing-song of Old Man Kangaroo 


OT always was the Kan- 
garoo as now we do 
behold him, but a 
Different Animal with 
four short legs. He 
was grey and he was 
woolly, and his pride 
was inordinate : he 
danced on an outcrop 
in the middle of Aus- 
tralia, and he went to the Little God Nqa. 

. He went to Nqa at six before breakfast, 
saying, ' Make me different from all other 
animals by five this afternoon.' 

Up jumped Nqa from his seat on the sand- 
flat and shouted, * Go away ! ' 

He was grey and he was woolly, and his 


86 Just So Stories 

pride was inordinate : he danced on a rock- 
ledge in the middle of Australia, and he went 
to the Middle God Nquing. 

He went to Nquing at eight after breakfast, 
saying, ' Make me different from all other 
animals ; make me, also, wonderfully popular 
by five this afternoon.' 

Up jumped Nquing from his burrow in the 
spinifex and shouted, * Go away I' 

He was grey and he was woolly, and his 
pride was inordinate: he danced on a sandbank 
in the middle of Australia, and he went to the 
Big God Nqong. 

He went to Nqong at ten before dinner- 
time, saying, ' Make me different from all other 
animals ; make me popular and wonderfully run 
after by five this afternoon.' 

Up jumped Nqong from his bath in the 
salt-pan and shouted, Yes, I will ! ' 

Nqong called Dingo Yellow-Dog Dingo 
always hungry, dusty in the sunshine, and 
showed him Kangaroo. Nqong said, ' Dingo ! 
Wake up, Dingo! Do you see that gentleman 
dancing on an ashpit ? He wants to be popular 
and very truly run after. Dingo, make him 

Old Man Kangaroo 87 

Up jumped Dingo- -Yellow-Dog Dingo- 
and said, ' What, that cat-rabbit ? ' 

Off ran Dingo- Yellow -Dog Dingo - 
always hungry, grinning like a coal-scuttle,- 
ran after Kangaroo. 

Off went the proud Kangaroo on his four 
little legs like a bunny. 

This, O Beloved of mine, ends the first 
part of the tale ! 

He ran through the desert ; he ran through 
the mountains ; he ran through the salt-pans ; 
he ran through the reed-beds ; he ran through 
the blue gums ; he ran through the spinifex ; 
he ran till his front legs ached. 

He had to ! 

Still ran Dingo Yellow - Dog Dingo - 
always hungry, grinning like a rat-trap, never 
getting nearer, never getting farther, ran after 

He had to! 

Still ran Kangaroo- -Old Man Kangaroo. 
He ran through the ti-trees ; he ran through 
the mulga ; he ran through the long grass ; he 
ran through the short grass; he ran through 
the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer ; he ran 
till his hind legs ached. 

THIS is a picture of Old Man Kangaroo when he was the Different 
Animal with four short legs. I have drawn him grey and woolly, and 
you can see that he is very proud because he has a wreath of flowers in his 
hair. He is dancing on an outcrop (that means a ledge of rock) in the 
middle of Australia at six o'clock before breakfast. You can see that it is 
six o'clock, because the sun is just getting up. The thing with the ears 
and the open mouth is Little God Nqa. Nqa is very much surprised, 
because he has never seen a Kangaroo dance like that before. Little God 
Nqa is just saying, ' Go away,' but the Kangaroo is so busy dancing 
that he has not heard him yet. 

The Kangaroo hasn't any real name except Boomer. He lost it 
because he was so proud. 

Old Man Kangaroo 91 

He had to ! 

Still ran Dingo Yellow - Dog Dingo 
hungrier and hungrier, grinning like a horse- 
collar, never getting nearer, never getting 
farther ; and they came to the Wollgong River. 

Now, there wasn't any bridge, and there 
wasn't any ferry-boat, and Kangaroo didn't 
know how to get over; so he stood on his legs 
and hopped. 

He had to ! 

He hopped through the Flinders ; he hopped 
through the Cinders; he hopped through the 
deserts in the middle of Australia. He hopped 
like a Kangaroo. 

First he hopped one yard ; then he hopped 
three yards ; then he hopped five yards ; his 
legs growing stronger ; his legs growing longer. 
He hadn't any time for rest or refreshment, and 
he wanted them very much. 

Still ran Dingo Yellow - Dog Dingo very 
much bewildered, very much hungry, and 
wondering what in the world or out of it made 
Old Man Kangaroo hop. 

For he hopped like a cricket; like a pea in 
a saucepan; or a new rubber 'ball on a nursery 

THIS is the picture of Old Man Kangaroo at five in the afternoon, when 
he had got his beautiful hind legs just as Big God Nqong had promised. 
You can see that it is five o'clock, because Big God Nqong's pet tame 
clock iays so. That is Nqong, in his bath, sticking his feet out. Old 
Man Kangaroo is being rude to Yellow - Dog Dingo. Yellow - Dog 
Dingo has been trying to catch Kangaroo all across Australia. You can 
see the marks of Kangaroo's big new feet running ever so far back over 
the bare hills. Yellow-Dog Dingo is drawn black, because I am not 
allowed to paint these pictures with real colours out of the paint-box ; 
and besides, Yellow - Dog Dingo got dreadfully black and dusty after 
running through the Flinders and the Cinders. 

I don't know the names of the flowers growing round Nqong's bath. 
The two little squatty things out in the desert are the other two gods 
that Old Man Kangaroo spoke to early in the morning. That thing with 
the letters on it is Old Man Kangaroo's pouch. He had to have a pouch 
just as he had to have legs. 



Old Man Kangaroo 95 

He had to ! 

He tucked up his front legs ; he hopped 
on his hind legs; he stuck out his tail for a 
balance-weight behind him ; and he hopped 
through the Darling Downs. 

He had to! 

Still ran Dingo Tired -Dog Dingo 
hungrier and hungrier, very much bewildered, 
and wondering when in the world or out of it 
would Old Man Kangaroo stop. 

Then came Nqong from his bath in the salt- 
pans, and said, 'It's five o'clock.' 

Down sat Dingo Poor Dog Dingo always 
hungry, dusky in the sunshine ; hung out his 
tongue and howled. 

Down sat Kangaroo Old Man Kangaroo 
stuck out his tail like a milking-stool be- 
hind him, and said, Thank goodness that's 
finished ! ' 

Then said Nqong, who is always a gentle- 
man, 'Why aren't you grateful to Yellow-Dog 
Dingo ? Why don't you thank him for all he 
has done for you ? ' 

Then said Kangaroo Tired Old Kangaroo 
* He's chased me out of the homes of my 
childhood ; he's chased me out of my regular 

g6 Just So Stones 

meal-times ; lie's altered my shape so I'll never 
get it back ; and he's played Old Scratch with 
my legs.' 

Then said Nqong, * Perhaps I'm mistaken, 
but didn't you ask me to make you different 
from all other animals, as well as to make you 
very truly sought after? And now it is five 

'Yes,' said Kangaroo. 'I wish that I 
hadn't. I thought you would do it by charms 
and incantations, but this is a practical 

1 Joke ! ' said Nqong from his bath in the 
blue gums. 'Say that again and I'll whistle up 
Dingo and run your hind legs off.' 

4 No, 'said the Kangaroo. 'I must apologise. 
Legs are legs, and you needn't alter 'em so far 
as I am concerned. I only meant to explain 
to Your Lordliness that I've had nothing 
to eat since morning, and I'm very empty 

Yes,' said Dingo- -Yellow -Dog Dingo, 
I am just in the same situation. I've made 
him different from all other animals ; but what 
may I have for my tea?' 

Then said Nqong from his bath in the salt- 

Old Man Kangaroo 97 

pan, ' Come and ask me about it to-morrow, 
because I'm going to wash/ 

So they were left in the middle of Australia, 
Old Man Kangaroo and Yellow-Dog Dingo, 
and each said, * That's your fault.' 

THIS is the mouth-filling song 

Of the race that was run by a Boomer, 

Run in a single burst only event of its kind 

Started by big God Nqong from Warrigaborrigarooma, 

Old Man Kangaroo first : Yellow-Dog Dingo behind. 

Kangaroo bounded away, 

His back-legs working like pistons 

Bounded from morning till dark, 

Twenty-five feet to a bound. 

Yellow-Dog Dingo lay 

Like a yellow cloud in the distance 

Much too busy to bark. 

My ! but they covered the ground ! 

Nobody knows where they went, 

Or followed the track that they flew in, 

For that Continent 

Hadn't been given a name. 

They ran thirty degrees, 

From Torres Straits to the Leeuwin 

(Look at the Atlas, please), 

And they ran back as they came. 

S'posing you could trot 
From Adelaide to the Pacific, 
For an afternoon's run 
Half what these gentlemen did 
You would feel rather hot, 
But your legs would develop terrific- 
Yes, my importunate son, 
You'd be a Marvellous Kid ! 


The Beginning of the Armadillos 



HIS, O Best Beloved, is 
another story of the 



and Far - Off 
In the very 

of those times 
was a Stickly - Prickly 
Hedgehog, and he lived 
on the banks of the 
turbid Amazon, eating 
shelly snails and things. 
And he had a friend, a Slow-Solid Tortoise, 
who lived on the banks of the turbid Amazon, 
eating green lettuces and things. And so that 
was all right, Best Beloved. Do you see ? 

But also, and at the same time, in those 
High and Far-Off Times, there was a Painted 
Jaguar, and he lived on the banks of the turbid 


102 Just So Stories 

Amazon too ; and he ate everything that he 
could catch. When he could not catch deer 
or monkeys he would eat frogs and beetles ; and 
when he could not catch frogs and beetles he 
went to his Mother Jaguar, and she told him 
how to eat hedgehogs and tortoises. 

She said to him ever so many times, 
graciously waving her tail, ' My son, when you 
find a Hedgehog you must drop him into the 
water and then he will uncoil, and when you 
catch a Tortoise you must scoop him out of his 
shell with your paw/ And so that was all right, 
Best Beloved. 

One beautiful night on the banks of the 
turbid Amazon, Painted Jaguar found Stickly- 
Prickly Hedgehog and Slow -Solid Tortoise 
sitting under the trunk of a fallen tree. They 
could not run away, and so Stickly-Prickly 
curled himself up into a ball, because he was a 
Hedgehog, and Slow-Solid Tortoise drew in his 
head and feet into his shell as far as they would 
go, because he was a Tortoise ; and so that was 
all right, Best Beloved. Do you see ? 

* Now attend to me,' said Painted Jaguar, 
( because this is very important. My mother 
said that when I meet a Hedgehog I am to drop 

Beginning of the Armadillos 103 

him into the water and then he will uncoil, 
and when I meet a Tortoise I am to scoop him 
out of his shell with my paw. Now which of 
you is Hedgehog and which is Tortoise ? because 
to save my spots, I can't tell.' 

' Are you sure of what your Mummy told 
you ? ' said Stickly - Prickly Hedgehog. * Are 
you quite sure ? Perhaps she said that when 
you uncoil a Tortoise you must shell him out 
of the water with a scoop, and when you paw a 
Hedgehog you must drop him on the shell. 7 

' Are you sure of what your Mummy told 
you ? ' said Slow-and-Solid Tortoise. ' Are you 
quite sure? Perhaps she said that when you 
water a Hedgehog you must drop him into your 
paw, and when you meet a Tortoise you must 
shell him till he uncoils.' 

1 1 don't think it was at all like that,' said 
Painted Jaguar, but he felt a little puzzled ; 
but, please, say it again more distinctly.' 

When you scoop water with your paw you 
uncoil it with a Hedgehog,' said Stickly-Prickly. 
' Remember that, because it's important.' 

' But, ' said the Tortoise, ' when you paw your 
meat you drop it into a Tortoise with a scoop. 
Why can't you understand ? ' 

THIS is an inciting map of the Turbid Amazon done in Red and Black. 
It hasn't anything to do with the story except that there are two Arma- 
dillos in it up by the top. The inciting part are the adventures that 
happened to the men who went along the road marked in red. I meant to 
draw Armadillos when I began the map, and I meant to draw manatees 
and spider-tailed monkeys and big snakes and lots of Jaguars, but it was 
more inciting to do the map and the venturesome adventures in red. You 
begin at the bottom left-hand corner and follow the little arrows all 
about, and then you come quite round again to where the adventuresome 
people went home in a ship called the T{pyal Tiger. This is a most 
adventuresome picture, and all the adventures are told about in writing, 
So you can be quite sure which is an adventure and which is a tree or 
a boat. 


e^^sy ^q^fs^ 
W6uk^jpj *<^r > ^^^rtthWr 

'X-n fud ^'*3^ (M^'^&^TtySh 

n..*. ..1.I&A.* Cast o-*f*Tlj&& s-^ Jl !A^ 


t /ot - a t>t"*">> a *^ 


Beginning of the Armadillos 107 

You are making my spots ache,' said Painted 
Jaguar ; ' and besides, I didn't want your advice 
at all. I only wanted to know which of you is 
Hedgehog and which is Tortoise.' 

'I shan't tell you/ said Stickly - Prickly. 
' but you can scoop me out of my shell if you 

' Aha ! ' said Painted Jaguar. ' Now I know 
you're Tortoise. You thought I wouldn't ! 
Now I will.' Painted Jaguar darted out his 
paddy-paw just as Stickly-Prickly curled himself 
up, and of course Jaguar's paddy-paw was just 
filled with prickles. Worse than that, he 
knocked Stickly-Prickly away and away into the 
woods and the bushes, where it was too dark to 
find him. Then he put his paddy-paw into his 
mouth, and of course the prickles hurt him 
worse than ever. As soon as he could speak he 
said, ' Now I know he isn't Tortoise at all. 
But ' and then he scratched his head with 
his un-prickly paw * how do I know that this 
other is Tortoise ? ' 

'But I am Tortoise/ said Slow -and -Solid. 
Your mother was quite right. She said that 
you were to scoop me out of my shell with your 
paw. Begin.' 

io8 Just So Stories 

You didn't say she said that a minute ago,' 
said Painted Jaguar, sucking the prickles out of 
his paddy-paw. You said she said something 
quite different.' 

Well, suppose you say that I said that she 
said something quite different, I don't see that it 
makes any difference ; because if she said what 
you said I said she said, it's just the same as if I 
said what she said she said. On the other hand, 
if you think she said that you were to uncoil me 
with a scoop, instead of pawing me into drops 
with a shell, I can't help that, can I ? ' 

* But you said you wanted to be scooped out 
of your shell with my paw,' said Painted Jaguar. 

* If you'll think again you'll find that I didn't 
say anything of the kind. I said that your 
mother said that you were to scoop me out of 
my shell,' said Slow-and-Solid. 

1 What will happen if I do ? ' said the Jaguar 
most sniffily and most cautious. 

' 1 don't know, because I've never been 
scooped out of my shell before ; but I tell you 
truly, if you want to see me swim away you've 
only got to drop me into the water/ 

' 1 don't believe it,' said Painted Jaguar. 
' You've mixed up all the things my mother 

Beginning of the Armadillos 109 

told me to do with the things that you asked 
me whether I was sure that she didn't say, till 
I don't know whether I'm on my head or my 
painted tail ; and now you come and tell me some- 
thing I can understand, and it makes me more 
mixy than before. My mother told me that I 
was to drop one of you two into the water, and 
as you seem so anxious to be dropped I think 
you don't want to be dropped. So jump into 
the turbid Amazon and be quick about it.' 

1 1 warn you that your Mummy won't be 
pleased. Don't tell her I didn't tell you,' said 

' If you say another word about what my 
mother said ' the Jaguar answered, but he had 
not finished the sentence before Slow-and-Solid 
quietly dived into the turbid Amazon, swam 
under water for a long way, and came out on 
the bank where Stickly - Prickly was waiting 
for him. 

That was a very narrow escape,' said Stickly- 
Prickly. ' I don't like Painted Jaguar. What 
did you tell him that you were ? ' 

* I told him truthfully that I was a truthful 
Tortoise, but he wouldn't believe it, and he 
made me jump into the river to see if I was, and 

no Just So Stories 

I was, and he is surprised. Now he's gone to 
tell his Mummy. Listen to him ! ' 

They could hear Painted Jaguar roaring up 
and down among the trees and the bushes 
by the side of the turbid Amazon, till his 
Mummy came. 

' Son, son ! ' said his mother ever so many 
times, graciously waving her tail, ' what have 
you been doing that you shouldn't have done ? ' 

* I tried to scoop something that said it wanted 
to be scooped out of its shell with my paw, and 
my paw is full of per-ickles,' said Painted Jaguar. 

' Son, son I ' said his mother ever so many 
times, graciously waving her tail, ! by the 
prickles in your paddy-paw I see that that must 
have been a Hedgehog. You should have 
dropped him into the water/ 

' I did that to the other thing ; and he said 
he was a Tortoise, and I didn't believe him, and 
it was quite true, and he has dived under the 
turbid Amazon, and he won't come up again, 
and I haven't anything at all to eat, and I think we 
had better find lodgings somewhere else. They are 
too clever on the turbid Amazon for poor me ! ' 

' Son, son ! ' said his mother ever so many 
times, graciously waving her tail, * now attend 

Beginning of the Armadillos 1 1 1 

to me and remember what I say. A Hedgehog 
curls himself up into a ball and his prickles stick 
out every which way at once. By this you may 
know the Hedgehog.' 

'I don't like this old lady one little bit,' said 
Stickly-Prickly, under the shadow of a large leaf. 
* I wonder what else she knows ? ' 

*A Tortoise can't curl himself up,' Mother 
Jaguar went on, ever so many times, graciously 
waving her tail. ' He only draws his head and 
legs into his shell. By this you may know the 

' I don't like this old lady at all at all,' said 
Slow - and - Solid Tortoise. ' Even Painted 
Jaguar can't forget those directions. It's a great 
pity that you can't swim, Stickly-Prickly.' 

'Don't talk to me,' said Stickly-Prickly. 
'Just think how much better it would be if you 
could curl up. This is a mess ! Listen to 
Painted Jaguar.' 

Painted Jaguar was sitting on the banks of 
the turbid Amazon sucking prickles out of his 
paws and saying to himself 

' Can't curl, but can swim 
Slow-Solid, that's him ! 
Curls up, but can't swim 
Stickly-Prickly, that's him ! ' 

ii2 Just So Stories 

1 He'll never forget that this month of Sun- 
days,' said Stickly-Prickly. ' Hold up my chin, 
Slow-and-Solid. I'm going to try to learn to 
swim. It may be useful.' 

' Excellent ! ' said Slow-and-Solid ; and he 
held up Stickly-Prickly's chin, while Stickly- 
Prickly kicked in the waters of the turbid 

You'll make a fine swimmer yet,' said Slow- 
and-Solid. ' Now, if you can unlace my back- 
plates a little, I'll see what I can do towards 
curling up. It may be useful.' 

Stickly-Prickly helped to unlace Tortoise's 
back-plates, so that by twisting and straining 
Slow-and-Solid actually managed to curl up a 
tiddy wee bit. 

* Excellent ! ' said Stickly-Prickly ; ' but I 
shouldn't do any more just now. It's making 
you black in the face. Kindly lead me into the 
water once again and I'll practise that side-stroke 
which you say is so easy.' And so Stickly- 
Prickly practised, and Slow-Solid swam alongside. 

1 Excellent!' said Slow-and-Solid. 'A little 
more practice will make you a regular whale. 
Now, if I may trouble you to unlace my back 
and front plates two holes more, I'll try that 

Beginning of the Armadillos 113 

fascinating bend that you say is so easy. Won't 
Painted Jaguar be surprised ! ' 

1 Excellent ! ' said Stickly-Prickly, all wet from 
the turbid Amazon. ' I declare, I shouldn't 
know you from one of my own family. Two 
holes, I think, you said? A little more expres- 
sion, please, and don't grunt quite so much, or 
Painted Jaguar may hear us. When you've 
finished, I want to try that long dive which 
you say is so easy. Won't Painted Jaguar be 
surprised ! ' 

And so Stickly-Prickly dived, and Slow-and- 
Solid dived alongside. 

' Excellent ! ' said Slow-and-Solid. * A leetle 
more attention to holding your breath and you 
will be able to keep house at the bottom of the 
turbid Amazon. Now I'll try that exercise of 
wrapping my hind legs round my ears which 
you say is so peculiarly comfortable. Won't 
Painted Jaguar be surprised ! ' 

'Excellent!' said Stickly-Prickly. ' But it's 
straining your back -plates a little. They are all 
overlapping now, instead of lying side by side.' 

* Oh, that's the result of exercise,' said Slow- 
and-Solid. * I've noticed that your prickles 
seem to be melting into one another, and that 

ii4 Just So Stories 

you're growing to look rather more like a pine- 
cone, and less like a chestnut-burr, than you 
used to.' 

' Am I ? ' said Stickly-Prickly. ' That comes 
from my soaking in the water. Oh, won't 
Painted Jaguar be surprised ! ' 

They went on with their exercises, each 
helping the other, till morning came ; and when 
the sun was high they rested and dried them- 
selves. Then they saw that they were both of 
them quite different from what they had been. 

* Stickly-Prickly,' said Tortoise after break- 
fast, * I am not what I was yesterday ; but I 
think that I may yet amuse Painted Jaguar.' 

' That was the very thing I was thinking just 
now,' said Stickly-Prickly. * I think scales are 
a tremendous improvement on prickles to say 
nothing of being able to swim. Oh, won't 
Painted Jaguar be surprised ! Let's go and 
find him. 

By and by they found Painted Jaguar, still 
nursing his paddy-paw that had been hurt the 
night before. He was so astonished that he fell 
three times backward over his own painted tail 
without stopping. 

1 Good morning ! ' said Stickly - Prickly. 

Beginning of the Armadillos 115 

* And how is your dear gracious Mummy this 
morning ? ' 

' She is quite well, thank you/ said Painted 
Jaguar; but you must forgive me if I do not 
at this precise moment recall your name/ 

That's unkind of you,' said Stickly-Prickly, 
'seeing that this time yesterday you tried to 
scoop me out of my shell with your paw/ 

1 But you hadn't any shell. It was all 
prickles/ said Painted Jaguar. ' I know it was. 
Just look at my paw ! ' 

You told me to drop into the turbid Amazon 
and be drowned/ said Slow-Solid. Why are 
you so rude and forgetful to-day ? ' 

' Don't you remember what your mother told 
you ? ' said Stickly-Prickly, 

' Can't curl, but can swim 
Stickly-Prickly, that's him ! 
Curls up, but can't swim 
Slow-Solid, that's him ! ' 

Then they both curled themselves up and 
rolled round and round Painted Jaguar till his 
eyes turned truly cart-wheels in his head. 

Then he went to fetch his mother. 

' Mother/ he said, * there are two new animals 
in the woods to-day, and the one that you said 

THIS is a picture of the whole story of the Jaguar and the Hedgehog and 
the Tortoise and the Armadillo all in a heap. It looks rather the same any 
way you turn it. The Tortoise is in the middle, learning how to bend, 
and that is why the shelly plates on his back are so spread apart. He is 
standing on the Hedgehog, who is waiting to learn how to swim. The 
Hedgehog is a Japanesy Hedgehog, because I couldn't find our own 
Hedgehogs in the garden when I wanted to draw them. (It was daytime, 
and they had gone to bed under the dahlias.) Speckly Jaguar is looking 
over the edge, with his paddy-paw carefully tied up by his mother, because 
he pricked himself scooping the Hedgehog. He is much surprised to see 
what the Tortoise is doing, and his paw is hurting him. The snouty 
thing with the little eye that Speckly Jaguar is trying to climb over is the 
Armadillo that the Tortoise and the Hedgehog are going to turn into 
when they have finished bending and swimming. It is all a magic picture, 
and that is one of the reasons why I haven't drawn the Jaguar's whiskers. 
The other reason was that he was so young that his whiskers had not 
grown. The Jaguar's pet name with his Mummy was Doffles. 


Beginning of the Armadillos 119 

couldn't swim, swims, and the one that you said 
couldn't curl up, curls ; and they've gone shares 
in their prickles, I think, because both of them 
are scaly all over, instead of one being smooth 
and the other very prickly; and, besides that, 
they are rolling round and round in circles, and 
I don't feel comfy.' 

' Son, son ! ' said Mother Jaguar ever so many 
times, graciously waving her tail, * a Hedgehog 
is a Hedgehog, and can't be anything but a 
Hedgehog ; and a Tortoise is a Tortoise, and 
can never be anything else/ 

' But it isn't a Hedgehog, and it isn't a 
Tortoise. It's a little bit of both, and I don't 
know its proper name/ 

' Nonsense ! ' said Mother Jaguar. ' Every- 
thing has its proper name. I should call it 
* Armadillo ' till I found out the real one. And 
I should leave it alone/ 

So Painted Jaguar did as he was told, especi- 
ally about leaving them alone ; but the curious 
thing is that from that day to this, O Best 
Beloved, no one on the banks of the turbid 
Amazon has ever called Stickly-Prickly and 
Slow-Solid anything except Armadillo. There 
are Hedgehogs and Tortoises in other places, of 


Just So Stories 

course (there are some in my garden) ; but 
the real old and clever kind, with their scales 
lying lippety - lappety one over the other, like 
pine-cone scales, that lived on the banks of 
the turbid Amazon in the High and Far-Off 
Days, are always called Armadillos, because 
they were so clever. 

So that 's all right, Best Beloved. Do you 


I'VE never sailed the Amazon, 

I've never reached Brazil ; 
But the Don and Magdalena, 

They can go there when they will ! 

Yes, weekly from Southampton, 
Great steamers, white and gold, 
Go rolling down to Rio 
(Roll down roll down to Rio !) 
And I'd like to roll to Rio 
Some day before I'm old ! 

I've never seen a Jaguar, 

Nor yet an Armadill 
O dilloing in his armour, 

And I s'pose I never will, 

Unless I go to Rio 
These wonders to behold 
Roll down roll down to Rio 
Roll really down to Rio ! 
Oh, I'd love to roll to Rio 
Some day before I'm old ! 


How the First Letter Was Written 



NCE upon a most early 
time was a Neolithic 
man. He was not a 
Jute or an Angle, or 
even a Dravidian, which 
he might well have 
been, Best Beloved, but 
never mind why. He 
was a Primitive, and he 
lived cavily in a Cave, 

and he wore very few clothes, and he couldn't 
read and he couldn't write and he didn't want 
to, and except when he was hungry he was quite 
happy. His name was Tegumai Bopsulai, and 
that means, ' Man - who - does - not - put - his - foot - 
forward -in -a- hurry'; but we, O Best Beloved, 
will call him Tegumai, for short. And his 


124 J ust So Stories 

wife's name was Teshumai Tewindrow, and that 
means, * Lady -who -asks -a- very- many-questions ; 
but we, O Best Beloved, will call her Teshumai, 
for short. And his little girl-daughter's name 
was Taffimai Metallumai, and that means, 
4 Small - person - without - any - manners -who-ought- 
to-be-spanked ' ; but I'm going to call her Taffy. 
And she was Tegumai Bopsulai's Best Beloved 
and her own Mummy's Best Beloved, and she 
was not spanked half as much as was good for 
her; and they were all three very happy. As 
soon as Taffy could run about she went every- 
where with her Daddy Tegumai, and sometimes 
they would not come home to the Cave till they 
were hungry, and then Teshumai Tewindrow 
would say, Where in the world have you two 
been to, to get so shocking dirty ? Really, my 
Tegumai, you're no better than my Taffy.' 

Now attend and listen ! 

One day Tegumai Bopsulai went down 
through the beaver-swamp to the Wagai river 
to spear carp-fish for dinner, and Taffy went 
too. Tegumai's spear was made of wood with 
shark's teeth at the end, and before he had 
caught any fish at all he accidentally broke it 
clean across by jabbing it down too hard on the 

The First Letter 125 

bottom of the river. They were miles and miles 
from home (of course they had their lunch 
with them in a little bag), and Tegumai had 
forgotten to bring any extra spears. 

' Here's a pretty kettle of fish ! ' said Tegumai. 
1 It will take me half the day to mend this.' 

There's your big black spear at home,' said 
Taffy. ' Let me run back to the Cave and ask 
Mummy to give it me.' 

' It's too far for your little fat legs,' said 
Tegumai. * Besides, you might fall into the 
beaver-swamp and be drowned. We must make 
the best of a bad job.' He sat down and took 
out a little leather mendy-bag, full of reindeer- 
sinews and strips of leather, and lumps of bee's- 
wax and resin, and began to mend the spear. 
Taffy sat down too, with her toes in the water 
and her chin in her hand, and thought very 
hard. Then she said 

* I say, Daddy, it's an awful nuisance that you 
and I don't know how to write, isn't it ? If we 
did we could send a message for the new spear.' 
Taffy,' said Tegumai, * how often have I 
told you not to use slang? "Awful" isn't a 
pretty word, but it would be a convenience, 
now you mention it, if we could write home.' 

126 Just So Stories 

Just then a Stranger-man came along the 
river, but he belonged to a far tribe, the 
Tewaras, and he did not understand one word 
of Tegumai's language. He stood on the bank 
and smiled at Taffy, because he had a little 
girl-daughter of his own at home. Tegumai 
drew a hank of deer-sinews from his mendy-bag 
and began to mend his spear. 

' Come here/ said Taffy. ' Do you know 
where my Mummy lives?' And the Stranger- 
man said ' Um ! ' being, as you know, a 

1 Silly ! ' said Taffy, and she stamped her 
foot, because she saw a shoal of very big carp 
going up the river just when her Daddy couldn't 
use his spear. 

' Don't bother grown-ups,' said Tegumai, so 
busy with his spear-mending that he did not 
turn round. 

' I aren't,' said Taffy. ' I only want him to 
do what I want him to do, and he won't under- 

Then don't bother me,' said Tegumai, and 
he went on pulling and straining at the deer- 
sinews with his mouth full of loose ends. The 
Stranger-man a genuine Tewara he was sat 

The First Letter 127 

down on the grass, and Taffy showed him what 
her Daddy was doing. The Stranger -man 
thought, " This is a very wonderful child. She 
stamps her foot at me and she makes faces. She 
must be the daughter of that noble Chief who is 
so great that he won't take any notice of me/ 
So he smiled more politely than ever. 

* Now,' said Taffy, * I want you to go to my 
Mummy, because your legs are longer than 
mine, and you won't fall into the beaver-swamp, 
and ask for Daddy's other spear the one with 
the black handle that hangs over our fireplace.' 

The Stranger -man (and he was a Tewara) 
thought, This is a very, very wonderful child. 
She waves her arms and she shouts at me, but I 
don't understand a word of what she says. But 
if I don't do what she wants, I greatly fear that 
that haughty Chief, Man -who -turns -his- back - 
on-callers, will be angry.' He got up and 
twisted a big flat piece of bark off a birch-tree 
and gave it to Taffy. He did this, Best Be- 
loved, to show that his heart was as white as the 
birch-bark and that he meant no harm; but 
Taffy didn't quite understand. 

* Oh ! ' said she. ' Now I see 1 You want 
my Mummy's living address ? Of course I can't 

128 Just So Stories 

write, but I can draw pictures if I've anything 
sharp to scratch with. Please lend me the 
shark's tooth off your necklace. ' 

The Stranger -man (and he was a Tewara) 
didn't say anything, so Taffy put up her little 
hand and pulled at the beautiful bead and seed 
and shark-tooth necklace round his neck. 

The Stranger-man (and he was a Tewara) 
thought, * This is a very, very, very wonderful 
child. The shark's tooth on my necklace is a 
magic shark's tooth, and I was always told that 
if anybody touched it without my leave they 
would immediately swell up or burst, but this 
child doesn't swell up or burst, and that impor- 
tant Chief, Man -who -attends -strictly -to- his - 
business, who has not yet taken any notice of 
me at all, doesn't seem to be afraid that she will 
swell up or burst. I had better be more polite/ 

So he gave Taffy the shark's tooth, and she 
lay down flat on her tummy with her legs in the 
air, like some people on the drawing-room floor 
when they want to draw pictures, and she said, 
' Now I'll draw you some beautiful pictures ! 
You can look over my shoulder, but you mustn't 
joggle. First I'll draw Daddy fishing. It isn't 
very like him ; but Mummy will know, because 

The First Letter 129 

I've drawn his spear all broken. Well, now I'll 
draw the other spear that he wants, the black- 
handled spear. It looks as if it was sticking in 
Daddy's back, but that's because the shark's 
tooth slipped and this piece of bark isn't big 
enough. That's the spear I want you to fetch ; 
so I'll draw a picture of me myself 'splaining to 
you. My hair doesn't stand up like I've drawn, 
but it's easier to draw that way. Now I'll draw 
you. / think you're very nice really, but I can't 
make you pretty in the picture, so you mustn't 
be 'fended. Are you 'fended ? ' 

The Stranger-man (and he was a Tewara) 
smiled. He thought, There must be a big 
battle going to be fought somewhere, and this 
extraordinary child, who takes my magic shark's 
tooth but who does not swell up or burst, is tell- 
ing me to call all the great Chief's tribe to help 
him. He is a great Chief, or he would have 
noticed me/ 

* Look,' said Taffy, drawing very hard and 
rather scratchily, * now I've drawn you, and I've 
put the spear that Daddy wants into your hand, 
just to remind you that you're to bring it. Now 
I'll show you how to find my Mummy's living- 
address. You go along till you come to two 

130 Just So Stories 

trees (those are trees), and then you go over a 
hill (that's a hill), and then you come into a 
beaver-swamp all full of beavers. I haven't put 
in all the beavers, because I can't draw beavers, 
but I've drawn their heads, and that's all you'll 
see of them when you cross the swamp. Mind 
you don't fall in ! Then our Cave is just beyond 
the beaver-swamp. It isn't as high as the hills 
really, but I can't draw things very small. That's 
my Mummy outside. She is beautiful. She is 
the most beautifullest Mummy there ever was, 
but she won't be 'fended when she sees I've 
drawn her so plain. She'll be pleased of me 
because I can draw. Now, in case you forget, 
I've drawn the spear that Daddy wants outside 
our Cave. It's inside really, but you show the 
picture to my Mummy and she'll give it you. 
I've made her holding up her hands, because I 
know she'll be so pleased to see you. Isn't it a 
beautiful picture? And do you quite under- 
stand, or shall I 'splain again ? ' 

The Stranger-man (and he was a Tewara) 
looked at the picture and nodded very hard. 
He said to himself, * If I do not fetch this great 
Chief's tribe to help him, he will be slain by his 
enemies who are coming up on all sides with 

The First Letter 

spears. Now I see why the great Chief pretended 
not to notice me ! He feared that his enemies 
were hiding in the bushes and would see him 
deliver a message to me. Therefore he turned 
his back, and let the wise and wonderful child 
draw the terrible picture showing me his diffi- 
culties. I will away and get help for him from 
his tribe.' He did not even ask Taffy the road, 
but raced off into the bushes like the wind, with 
the birch-bark in his hand, and Taffy sat down 
most pleased. 

Now this is the picture that Taffy had 
drawn for him 1 

132 Just So Stories 

1 What have you been doing, Taffy ? ' said 
Tegumai. He had mended his spear and was 
carefully waving it to and fro. 

1 It's a little berangement of my own, Daddy 
dear/ said Taffy. ' If you won't ask me ques- 
tions, you'll know all about it in a little time, 
and you'll be surprised. You don't know how 
surprised you'll be, Daddy ! Promise you'll 
be surprised.' 

Very well,' said Tegumai, and went on 

The Stranger -man did you know he was 
a Tewara ? hurried away with the picture and 
ran for some miles, till quite by accident he 
found Teshumai Tewindrow at the door of her 
Cave, talking to some other Neolithic ladies who 
had come in to a Primitive lunch. Taffy was 
very like Teshumai, especially about the upper 
part of the face and the eyes, so the Stranger- 
man always a pure Tewara smiled politely 
and handed Teshumai the birch-bark. He had 
run hard, so that he panted, and his legs were 
scratched with brambles, but he still tried to 
be polite. 

As soon as Teshumai saw the picture she 
screamed like anything and flew at the Stranger- 

The First Letter 133 

man. The other Neolithic ladies at once 
knocked him down and sat on him in a long 
line of six, while Teshumai pulled his hair. 
' It's as plain as the nose on this Stranger-man's 
face,' she said. ' He has stuck my Tegumai all 
full of spears, and frightened poor Taffy so that 
her hair stands all on end ; and not content with 
that, he brings me a horrid picture of how it 
was done. Look ! ' She showed the picture to 
all the Neolithic ladies sitting patiently on the 
Stranger- man. * Here is my Tegumai with his 
arm broken ; here is a spear sticking into his 
back ; here is a man with a spear ready to 
throw ; here is another man throwing a spear 
from a Cave, and here are a whole pack of 
people ' (they were Taffy's beavers really, but 
they did look rather like people) * coming up 
behind Tegumai. Isn't it shocking ! ' 

'Most shocking ! ' said the Neolithic ladies, 
and they filled the Stranger-man's hair with mud 
(at which he was surprised), and they beat upon 
the Reverberating Tribal Drums, and called to- 
gether all the chiefs of the Tribe of Tegumai, 
with their Hetmans and Dolmans, all Neguses, 
Woons, and Akhoonds of the organisation, in 
addition to the Warlocks, Angekoks, Juju-men, 

134 J ust So Stories 

Bonzes, and the rest, who decided that before 
they chopped the Stranger-man's head off he 
should instantly lead them down to the river 
and show them where he had hidden poor 

By this time the Stranger-man (in spite of 
being a Tewara) was really annoyed. They 
had filled his hair quite solid with mud ; they 
had rolled him up and down on knobby 
pebbles; they had sat upon him in a long line 
of six; they had thumped him and bumped him 
till he could hardly breathe ; and though he did 
not understand their language, he was almost 
sure that the names the Neolithic ladies called 
him were not ladylike. However, he said 
nothing till all the Tribe of Tegumai were 
assembled, and then he led them back to the 
bank of the Wagai river, and there they found 
Taffy making daisy - chains, and Tegumai 
carefully spearing small carp with his mended 

! Well, you have been quick ! ' said Taffy. 
* But why did you bring so many people ? 
Daddy dear, this is my surprise. Are you sur- 
prised, Daddy ? ' 

'Very/ said Tegumai; 'but it has ruined all 

The First Letter i 35 

my fishing for the day. Why, the whole dear, 
kind, nice, clean, quiet Tribe is here, Taffy.' 

And so they were. First of all walked 
Teshumai Tewindrow and the Neolithic ladies, 
tightly holding on to the Stranger-man, whose 
hair was full of mud (although he was a Tewara). 
Behind them came the Head Chief, the Vice- 
Chief, the Deputy and Assistant Chiefs (all 
armed to the upper teeth), the Hetmans and 
Heads of Hundreds, Platoffs with their Platoons, 
and Dolmans with their Detachments ; Woons, 
Neguses, and Akhoonds ranking in the rear 
(still armed to the teeth). Behind them was 
the Tribe in hierarchical order, from owners of 
four caves (one for each season), a private 
reindeer-run, and two salmon-leaps, to feudal 
and prognathous Villeins, semi-entitled to half a 
bearskin of winter nights, seven yards from the 
fire, and adscript serfs, holding the reversion of a 
scraped marrow-bone under heriot (Aren't those 
beautiful words, Best Beloved?). They were all 
there, prancing and shouting, and they fright- 
ened every fish for twenty miles, and Tegumai 
thanked them in a fluid Neolithic oration. 

Then Teshumai Tewindrow ran down and 
kissed and hugged Taffy very much indeed ; but 

136 Just So Stories 

the Head Chief of the Tribe of Tegumai took 
Tegumai by the top -knot feathers and shook 
him severely. 

' Explain ! Explain ! Explain ! ' cried all the 
Tribe of Tegumai. 

4 Goodness' sakes alive ! ' said Tegumai. ' Let 
go of my top-knot. Can't a man break his 
carp -spear without the whole countryside de- 
scending on him ? You're a very interfering 

* I don't believe you've brought my Daddy's 
black-handled spear after all,' said Taffy. 'And 
what are you doing to my nice Stranger-man ? ' 

They were thumping him by twos and threes 
and tens till his eyes turned round and round. 
He could only gasp and point at Taffy. 

1 Where are the bad people who speared you, 
my darling ? ' said Teshumai Tewindrow. 

; There weren't any,' said Tegumai. * My 
only visitor this morning was the poor fellow 
that you are trying to choke. Aren't you well, 
or are you ill, O Tribe of Tegumai ? ' 

' He came with a horrible picture,' said the 
Head Chief, ' a picture that showed you were 
full of spears/ 

1 Er um Pr'aps Fd better 'splain that I 

The First Letter 137 

gave him that picture,' said Taffy, but she did 
not feel quite comfy. 

You ! ' said the Tribe of Tegumai all to- 
gether. ' Small - person - with - no - manners - who - 
ought -to -be- spanked ! You?' 

'Taffy dear, I'm afraid we're in for a little 
trouble,' said her Daddy, and put his arm round 
her, so she didn't care. 

* Explain ! Explain ! Explain ! ' said the Head 
Chief of the Tribe of Tegumai, and he hopped 
on one foot. 

1 1 wanted the Stranger-man to fetch Daddy's 
spear, so I drawded it,' said Taffy. ; There 
wasn't lots of spears. There was only one 
spear. I drawded it three times to make sure. 
I couldn't help it looking as if it stuck into 
Daddy's head there wasn't room on the 
birch-bark ; and those things that Mummy called 
bad people are my beavers. I drawded them 
to show him the way through the swamp ; and 
I drawded Mummy at the mouth of the Cave 
looking pleased because he is a nice Stranger- 
man, and / think you are just the stupidest 
people in the world,' said Taffy. ' He is a very 
nice man. Why have you filled his hair with 
mud ? Wash him ! ' 

138 Just So Stories 

Nobody said anything at all for a long time, 
till the Head Chief laughed ; then the Stranger- 
man (who was at least a Tewara) laughed; then 
Tegumai laughed till he fell down flat on the 
bank; then all the Tribe laughed more and 
worse and louder. The only people who did 
not laugh were Teshumai Tewindrow and all 
the Neolithic ladies. They were very polite to 
all their husbands, and said 'idiot ! ' ever so often. 

Then the Head Chief of the Tribe of Tegumai 
cried and said and sang, *O Small-person-with- 
out - any - manners - who - ought - to - be - spanked, 
youVe hit upon a great invention ! ' 

'I didn't intend to; I only wanted Daddy's 
black-handled spear/ said Taffy. 

'Never mind. It is a great invention, and 
some day men will call it writing. At present 
it is only pictures, and, as we have seen to-day, 
pictures are not always properly understood. 
But a time will come, O Babe of Tegumai, when 
we shall make letters all twenty-six of 'em, 
and when we shall be able to read as well as to 
write, and then we shall always say exactly what 
we mean without any mistakes. Let the Neo- 
lithic ladies wash the mud out of the stranger's 

The First Letter 139 

' I shall be glad of that/ said Taffy, ' because, 
after all, though you've brought every single 
other spear in the Tribe of Tegumai, you've for- 
gotten my Daddy's black-handled spear.' 

Then the Head Chief cried and said and 
sang, Taffy dear, the next time you write a 
picture-letter, you'd better send a man who can 
talk our language with it, to explain what it 
means. I don't mind it myself, because I am a 
Head Chief, but it's very bad for the rest of the 
Tribe of Tegumai, and, as you can see, it sur- 
prises the stranger/ 

Then they adopted the Stranger -man (a 
genuine Tewara of Tewar) into the Tribe of 
Tegumai, because he was a gentleman and did 
not make a fuss about the mud that the Neolithic 
ladies had put into his hair. But from that day 
to this (and I suppose it is all Taffy's fault), very 
few little girls have ever liked learning to read 
or write. Most of them prefer to draw pictures 
and play about with their Daddies just like 

THIS is the story of Taffimai Metallumai carved on an old tusk a very 
long time ago by the Ancient Peoples. If you read my story, or have it 
read to you, you can see how it is all told out on the tusk. The tusk was 
part of an old tribal trumpet that belonged to the Tribe of Tcgumai. 
The pictures were scratched on it with a nail or something, and then the 
scratches were filled up with black wax, but all the dividing lines and the 
five little rounds at the bottom were filled with red wax. When it was 
new there was a sort of network of beads and shells and precious stones 
at one end of it ; but now that has been broken and lost all except the 
little bit that you see. The letters round the tusk are magic Runic 
magic, and if you can read them you will find out something rather new. 
The tusk is of ivory very yellow and scratched. It is two feet long and 
two feet round, and weighs eleven pounds nine ounces. 


THERE runs a road by Merrow Down 

A grassy track to-day it is 
An hour out of Guildford town, 

Above the river Wey it is. 

Here, when they heard the horse-bells ring, 
The ancient Britons dressed and rode 

To watch the dark Phoenicians bring 
Their goods along the Western Road. 

And here, or hereabouts, they met 
To hold their racial talks and such 

To barter beads for Whitby jet, 

And tin for gay shell torques and such. 

But long and long before that time 
(When bison used to roam on it) 

Did Taffy and her Daddy climb 
That down, and had their home on it. 

Then beavers built in Broadstonebrook 
And made a swamp where Bramley stands 

And bears from Shere would come and look 
For Taffimai where Shamley stands. 

The Wey, that Taffy called Wagai, 
Was more than six times bigger then ; 

And all the Tribe of Tegumai 
They cut a noble figure then ! 

How the Alphabet Was Made 


HE week after Taffimai 
Metallumai (we will still 
call her Taffy, Best Be- 
loved) made that little 
mistake about her 
Daddy's spear and the 
Stranger - man and the 
picture - letter and all, 
she went carp - fishing 
again with her Daddy. 
Her Mummy wanted 
her to stay at home 

and help hang up hides to dry on the big 
drying-poles outside their Neolithic Cave, but 
Taffy slipped away down to her Daddy quite 
early, and they fished. Presently she began 
to giggle, and her Daddy said, ' Don't be silly, 


146 Just So Stories 

' But wasn't it inciting ! ' said Taffy. ; Don't 
you remember how the Head Chief puffed out 
his cheeks, and how funny the nice Stranger- 
man looked with the mud in his hair ? ' 

' Well do I,' said Tegumai. ' I had to pay 
two deerskins soft ones with fringes to the 
Stranger-man for the things we did to him/ 

'/F^ didn't do anything,' said Taffy. 'It 
was Mummy and the other Neolithic ladies 
and the mud.' 

' We won't talk about that,' said her Daddy. 
' Let's have lunch.' 

Taffy took a marrow-bone and sat mousy- 
quiet for ten whole minutes, while her Daddy 
scratched on pieces of birch-bark with a shark's 
tooth. Then she said, ' Daddy, I've thinked 
of a secret surprise. You make a noise any 
sort of noise.' 

* Ah ! ' said Tegumai. ' Will that do to 
begin with ? ' 

* Yes,' said Taffy. ' You look just like a carp- 
fish with its mouth open. Say it again, please.' 

4 Ah! ah! ah!' said her Daddy. 'Don't 
be rude, my daughter.' 

' I'm not meaning rude, really and truly,' 
said Taffy. ' It's part of my secret-surprise- 

How the Alphabet was Made 147 

think. Do say ah, Daddy, and keep your 
mouth open at the end, and lend me that 
tooth. I'm going to draw a carp-fish's mouth 

What for ? ' said her Daddy. 

' Don't you see ? ' said Taffy, scratching away 
on the bark. 'That will be our little secret 
s'prise. When I draw a carp-fish with his 
mouth open in the smoke at the back of our 
Cave if Mummy doesn't mind it will remind 
you of that ah-noise. Then we can play that 
it was me jumped out of the dark and s'prised 
you with that noise same as I did in the 
beaver^swamp last winter.' 

* Really ? ' said her Daddy, in the voice that 
grown-ups use when they are truly attending. 
4 Go on, Taffy.' 

' Oh bother ! ' she said. ' I can't draw all 
of a carp-fish, but I can draw something that 
means a carp-fish's mouth. Don't 
you know how they stand on their 
heads rooting in the mud? Well, 
here's a pretence carp-fish (we can 
play that the rest of him is drawn). Here's just 
his mouth, and that means ah. ' And she drew 
this, (i.) 

148 Just So Stories 

' That's not bad,' said Tegumai, and scratched 
on his own piece of bark for himself ; but you've 
forgotten the feeler that hangs across his mouth.' 
' But I can't draw, Daddy.' 
You needn't draw anything of him ex- 
cept just the opening of his mouth 
and the feeler across. Then we'll 
know he's a carp-fish, 'cause the 
perches and trouts haven't got feelers. 
Look here, Taffy/ And he drew 
this. (2.) 

* Now I'll copy it.' said Taffy. Will you 
understand this when you see it ? ' 
And she drew this. (3.) 

1 Perfectly,' said her Daddy. 
'And I'll be quite as s'prised when 
I see it anywhere, as if you had 
jumped out from behind a tree and said 

1 Now, make another noise,' said Taffy, very 

Yah ! ' said her Daddy, very loud. 
1 H'm,' said Taffy. * That's a mixy noise. 
The end part is ^/j-carp-fish-mouth ; but what 
can we do about the front part? Ter-yer-yer 
and ah 1 Ta I ' 

How the Alphabet was Made 149 

* It's very like the carp-fish-mouth noise. 
Let's draw another bit of the carp-fish and join 
' em,' said her Daddy. He was quite incited 

' No. If they're joined, I'll forget. Draw 
it separate. Draw his tail. If he's standing on 
his head the tail will come first. 'Sides, I think 
I can draw tails easiest,' said Taffy. 

* A good notion,' said Tegumai. * Here's 
a carp-fish tail for the ^r-noise.' 

And he drew this. (4.) 

* I'll try now,' said Taffy. 
'Member I can't draw like you, 

Daddy. Will it do if I just draw 4 

the split part of the tail, and the sticky-down 
line for where it joins ? ' And she 
* drew this. (5.) 

Her Daddy nodded, and his eyes 
were shiny bright with 'citement. 
s 'That's beautiful,' she said. 

4 Now make another noise, Daddy.' 
' Oh ! ' said her Daddy, very loud. 

That's quite easy,' said Taffy. 'You make 
your mouth all around like an egg or a stone. 
So an egg or a stone will do for that.' 

' You can't always find eggs or stones, 

150 Just So Stories 

We'll have to scratch a round something like 
one/ And he drew this. (6.) 

* My gracious ! ' said Taffy, ' what 
a lot of noise-pictures we've made, 
carp-mouth, carp-tail, and egg! Now, 

6 make another noise, Daddy.' 

* Ssh ! ' said her Daddy, and frowned to 
himself, but Taffy was too incited to notice. 

'That's quite easy,' she said, scratching on 
the bark. 

' Eh, what ? ' said her Daddy. ' I meant I 
was thinking, and didn't want to be disturbed.' 
' It's a noise just the same. It's the noise a 
snake makes, Daddy, when it is thinking and 
doesn't want to be disturbed. Let's 
make the j^-noise a snake. Will this 
do? ' And she drew this. (7.) 

'There/ she said. That's another 
s'prise- secret. When you draw a ? 

hissy-snake by the door of your little back-cave 
where you mend the spears, I'll know you're 
thinking hard ; and I'll come in most mousy- 
quiet. And if you draw it on a tree by the 
river when you're fishing, I'll know you want 
me to walk most most mousy-quiet, so as not 
to shake the banks/ 

How the Alphabet was Made 151 

* Perfectly true,' said Tegumai. * And 
there's more in this game than you think. 
Taffy, dear, I've a notion that your Daddy's 
daughter has hit upon the finest thing that 
there ever was since the Tribe of Tegumai 
took to using shark's teeth instead of flints for 
their spear-heads. I believe we've found out 
the big secret of the world.' 

' Why ? ' said Taffy, and her eyes shone too 
with incitement. 

* I'll show,' said her Daddy. ' What's water 
in the Tegumai language ? ' 

Ya, of course, and it means river too 
like Wagai-.ytf the Wagai river.' 

'What is bad water that gives you fever if 
you drink it black water swamp-water ? ' 
Y0, of course.' 

' Now look,' said her Daddy. ' S'pose you 
saw this scratched by the side of a 
pool in the beaver-swamp ? ' And 
he drew this. (8.) 

* Carp - tail and round egg. 
Two noises mixed ! Yo, bad 

water,' said Taffy. * 'Course I wouldn't drink 
that water because I'd know you said it was 

152 Just So Stories 

1 But I needn't be near the water at all. I 
might be miles away, hunting, and still- 

* And still it would be just the same as if 
you stood there and said, ' G'way, Taffy, or 
you'll get fever." All that in a carp -fish- 
tail and a round egg ! O Daddy, we must tell 
Mummy, quick ! ' and Taffy danced all round 

' Not yet/ said Tegumai; ' not till we've 
gone a little further. Let's see. To is bad 
water, but so is food cooked on the 
fire, isn't it?' And he drew this. 


Yes. Snake and egg,' said Taffy 
9 * So that means dinner's ready. If 

you saw that scratched on a tree you'd know 
it was time to come to the Cave. So'd I.' 

* My Winkie ! ' said Tegumai. That's true 
too. But wait a minute. I see a difficulty. 
So means "come and have dinner," but sho means 
the drying-poles where we hang our hides.' 

* Horrid old drying-poles ! ' said Taffy. ' I 
hate helping to hang heavy, hot, hairy hides on 
them. If you drew the snake and egg, and I 
thought it meant dinner, and I came in from 
the wood and found that it meant I was to help 

How the Alphabet was Made 153 

Mummy hang the two hides on the drying-poles, 
what would I do ? ' 

You'd be cross. So'd Mummy. We must 
make a new picture for sho. We must draw a 
spotty snake that hisses sh-sh, and we'll play 
that the plain snake only hisses ssss.' 

' I couldn't be sure how to put in the spots,' 
said Taffy. * And p'raps if you were in a hurry 
you might leave them out, and I'd think it was 
so when it was sho, and then Mummy would 
catch me just the same. No! I think we'd 
better draw a picture of the horrid high drying- 
poles their very selves, and make quite sure. 
I'll put them in just after the 
hissy - snake. Look ! ' And 
she drew this. (10.) 

' P'raps that's safest. It's 
very like our drying -poles, I0 

anyhow,' said her Daddy, laughing. * Now 
I'll make a new noise with a snake and 
drying -pole sound in it. I'll say shi. That's 
Tegumai for spear, Taffy.' And he laughed. 

' Don't make fun of me,' said Taffy, as she 
thought of her picture -letter and the mud 
in the Stranger -man's hair. 'You draw it, 

154 J ust So Stones 

1 We won't have beavers or hills this time, 
eh?' said her Daddy. Til just draw a straight 

line for my spear.' and he drew 
this, (n.) 

* Even Mummy couldn't mistake 
that for me being killed.' 

'Please don't, Daddy. It makes 
me uncomfy. Do some more noises. We're 
getting on beautifully.' 

'Er-hm!' said Tegumai, looking up. 'We'll 
say shu. That means sky.' 

Taffy drew the snake and the drying-pole. 
Then she stopped. 'We must make a new 
picture for that end sound, mustn't we ? ' 

'Shu-shu-u-u-u/' said her Daddy. 'Why, 
it's just like the round-egg-sound made thin.' 

'Then s'pose we draw a thin round egg, and 
pretend it's a frog that hasn't eaten anything for 

'N-no,' said her Daddy. 'If we drew that 
in a hurry we might mistake it for the round 
egg itself. Shu-shu-shu! I'll tell you 
what we'll do. We'll open a little hole 
at the end of the round egg to show how 
the O-noise runs out all thin, ooo-oo-oo. 
Like this.' And he drew this. (12.) 

How the Alphabet was Made 155 

' Oh, that's lovely ! Much better than a thin 
frog. Go on/ said Taffy, using her shark's 

Her Daddy went on drawing, and his hand 
shook with excitement. 
He went on till he had I ^ 
drawn this. (13.) 

' Don't look up, 
Taffy,' he said. 'Try I3 

if you can make out what that means in the 
Tegumai language. If you can, we've found 
the Secret.' 

4 Snake pole broken - egg carp - tail and 
carp-mouth," said Taffy. 'Shu-ya. Sky-water 
(rain).' Just then a drop fell on her hand, for 
the day had clouded over. [ Why, Daddy, it's 
raining. Was that what you meant to tell me?' 

' Of course,' said her Daddy. 'And I told 
it you without saying a word, didn't I ? ' 

'Well, I think I would have known it in a 
minute, but that raindrop made me quite [sure. 
I'll always remember now. Shu-ya means rain or 
'it is going to rain." Why, Daddy!' She got 
up and danced round him. 'S'pose you went 
out before I was awake, and drawed shu-ya in 
the smoke on the wall, I'd know it was going to 


Just So Stories 

rain and I'd take my beaver-skin hood. Wouldn't 
Mummy be surprised ! ' 

Tegumai got up and danced. (Daddies 
didn't mind doing those things in those days.) 
1 More than that ! More than that ! ' he said. 
' S'pose I wanted to tell you it wasn't going to 
rain much and you must come down to the 
river, what would we draw? Say the words in 
Tegumai-talk first.' 

' Shu-ya-las, ya maru. (Sky -water ending. 
River come to.) If^hat a lot of new sounds ! 
/ don't see how we can draw them.' 

' But I do but I do ! ' said Tegumai. * Just 
attend a minute, Taffy, and we won't do any 
more to - day. We've got shu-ya all right, 
haven't we ? but this las is a teaser. L,a-la-la I ' 
and he waved his shark-tooth. 

There's the hissy-snake at the end and the 
carp - mouth before the snake as-as-as. We 
only want la-la, ' said Taffy. 

' I know it, but we have to make la-la. And 
we're the first people in all the world who've 
ever tried to do it, Taffimai ! ' 

'Well/ said Taffy, yawning, for she was 
rather tired. 'Las means breaking or finishing 
as well as ending, doesn't it ? ' 

How the Alphabet was Made 157 

'So it does,' said Tegumai. ' To- las means 
that there's no water in the tank for Mummy to 
cook with just when I'm going hunting, too.' 

' And shi-las means that your spear is broken. 
If I'd only thought of that instead of drawing 
silly beaver pictures for the Stranger ! ' 

' La ! La ! La I ' said Tegumai, waiving his 
stick and frowning. * Oh bother ! ' 

* I could have drawn shi quite easily,' Taffy 
went on. Then I'd have drawn your spear all 
broken this way!' And she drew. (14.) 

; The very thing,' said Tegumai. 'That's 

= ^ 

14 15 

la all over. It isn't like any of the other marks, 
either.' And he drew this. (15.) 

' Now for ya. Oh, we've done that before. 
Now for maru. Mum-mum-mum. Mum shuts 
one's mouth up, doesn't it ? We'll draw a shut 
mouth like this.' And he drew. (16.) 

Then the carp - mouth open. That makes 
Ma-ma-ma \ But what about this rrrrr-thing, 
Taffy ? ' 

158 Just So Stories 

1 It sounds all rough and edgy, like your 
shark-tooth saw when you're cutting out a plank 
for the canoe,' said Taffy. 

You mean all sharp at the 
edges, like this ? ' said Tegumai. 
And he drew. (17.) 

' 'Xactly,' said Taffy. ' But we don't want 
all those teeth : only put two.' 

' I'll only put in one,' said Tegumai. * If 
this game of ours is going to be what I think it 
will, the easier we make our sound- 
pictures the better for everybody.' 
And he drew. (18.) 

'Now we've got it,' said Tegumai, 
standing on one leg. * I'll draw 'em all in a 
string like fish.' 

' Hadn't we better put a little bit of stick or 
something between each word, so's they won't 
rub up against each other and jostle, same as if 
they were carps ? ' 

* Oh, I'll leave a space for that,' said her 
Daddy. And very incitedly he drew them all 
without stopping, on a big new bit of birch- 
bark. (19.) 

' Shu-ya-las ya-maru,' said Taffy, reading it 
out sound by sound. 

How the Alphabet was Made 159 

'That's enough for to-day/ said Tegumai. 
' Besides, you're getting tired, Taffy. Never 

mind, dear. We'll finish it all to-morrow, and 
then we'll be remembered for years and years 
after the biggest trees you can see are all chopped 
up for firewood.' 

So they went home, and all that evening 
Tegumai sat on one side of the fire and Taffy 
on the other, drawing yas and yo's and shu's 
and shi's in the smoke on the wall and giggling 
together till her Mummy said, ' Really, Tegumai, 
you're worse than my Taffy.' 

1 Please don't mind,' said Taffy. ' It's only 
our secret-s'prise, Mummy dear, and we'll tell 
you all about it the very minute it's done ; but 
please don't ask me what it is now, or else I'll 
have to tell.' 

So her Mummy most carefully didn't; and 
bright and early next morning Tegumai went 
down to the river to think about new sound- 
pictures, and when Taffy got up she saw Ya-las 

160 Just So Stories 

(water is ending or running out) chalked on 
the side of the big stone water-tank, outside 
the Cave. 

' Urn,' said Taffy. These picture-sounds 
are rather a bother ! Daddy's just as good as 
come here himself and told me to get more water 
for Mummy to cook with.' She went to the 
spring at the back of the house and filled the 
tank from a bark bucket, and then she ran down 
to the river and pulled her Daddy's left ear the 
one that belonged to her to pull when she was 

' Now come along and we'll draw all the 
left-over sound-pictures,' said her Daddy, and 
they had a most inciting day of it, and a beauti- 
ful lunch in the middle, and two games of 
romps. When they came to T, Taffy said that 
as her name, and her Daddy's, and her Mummy's 
all began with that sound, they should draw a 
sort of family group of themselves holding hands. 
That was all very well to draw once or twice ; 
but when it came to drawing it six or seven 
times, Taffy and Tegumai drew it scratchier and 
scratchier, till at last the T-sound was only a 
thin long Tegumai with his arms out to hold 
Taffy and Teshumai. You can see from these 

How the Alphabet was Made 16 


three pictures partly how it happened. (20, 

21, 22.) 

Many of the other pictures were much too 
beautiful to begin with, especially before lunch, 
but as they were drawn over and over again on 


20 21 22 23 

birch-bark, they became plainer and easier, till 
at last even Tegumai said he could find no fault 
with them. They turned the hissy-snake the 
other way round for the Z-sound, to show it 
was hissing backwards in a soft and gentle way 

24 25 26 27 

(23) ; and they just made a twiddle for E, be- 
cause it came into the pictures so often (24) ; and 
they drew pictures of the sacred Beaver of the 
Tegumais for the B-sound (25, 26, 27, 28) ; 
and because it was a nasty, nosy noise, they 

1 62 

Just So Stories 

just drew noses for the N-sound, till they were 
tired (29) ; and they drew a picture of the big 
lake-pike's mouth for the greedy Ga-sound (30) ; 
and they drew the pike's mouth again with a 




spear behind it for the scratchy, hurty Ka-sound 
(31) ; and they drew pictures of a little bit of 
the winding Wagai river for the nice windy- 
windy Wa-sound (32, 33) ; and so on and so 
forth and so following till they had done and 




drawn all the sound-pictures that they wanted, 
and there was the Alphabet, all complete. 

And after thousands and thousands and 
thousands of years, and after Hieroglyphics and 
Demotics, and Nilotics, and Cryptics, and Cufics, 
and Runics, and Dorics, and Ionics, and all 

How the Alphabet was Made 163 

sorts of other ricks and tricks (because the 
Woons, and the Neguses, and the Akhoonds, 
and the Repositories of Tradition would never 
leave a good thing alone when they saw it), 
the fine old easy, understandable Alphabet 
A, B, C, D, E, and the rest of 'em got back 
into its proper shape again for all Best Beloveds 
to learn when they are old enough. 

But / remember Tegumai Bopsulai, and 
Taffimai Metallumai and Teshumai Tewindrow, 
her dear Mummy, and all the days gone by. 
And it was so just so a little time ago- 
on the banks of the big Wagai ! 

ONE of the first things that Tegumai Bopsulai did after Taffy and he had 
made the Alphabet was to make a magic Alphabet-necklace of all the letters, 
so that it could be put in the Temple of Tegumai and kept for ever and 
ever. All the Tribe of Tegumai brought their most precious beads and 
beautiful things, and Taffy and Tegumai spent five whole years getting 
the necklace in order. This is a picture of the magic Alphabet-necklace. 
The string was made of the finest and strongest reindeer-sinew, bound 
round with thin copper wire. 

Beginning at the top, the first bead is an old silver one that belonged 
to the Head Priest of the Tribe of Tegumai ; then come three black 
mussel-pearls; next is a clay bead (blue and gray); next a nubbly gold 
bead sent as a present by a tribe who got it from Africa (but it 
must have been Indian really) ; the next is a long flat-sided glass bead 
from Africa (the Tribe of Tegumai took it in a fight) ; then come two 
clay beads (white and green), with dots on one, and dots and bands on 
the other ; next are three rather chipped amber beads ; then three clay 
beads (red and white), two with dots, and the big one in the middle with a 
toothed pattern. Then the letters begin, and between each letter is a little 
whitish clay bead with the letter repeated small. Here are the letters 

A is scratched on a tooth an elk-tusk I think. 

B is the Sacred Beaver of Tegumai on a bit of old glory. 

C is a pearly oyster-shell inside front. 

D must be a sort of mussel-shell outside front. 

E is a twist of silver wire. 

F is broken, but what remains of it is a bit of stag's horn. 

G is painted black on a piece of wood. (The bead after G is a small 

shell, and not a clay bead. I don't know why they did that.) 
H is a kind of a big brown cowie-shell. 
I is the inside part of a long shell ground down by hand. (It took 

Tegumai three months to grind it down.) 
J is a fish hook in mother-of-pearl. 
L is the broken spear in silver. (K ought to follow J of course, but 

the necklace was broken once and they mended it wrong.) 
K is a thin slice of bone scratched and rubbed in black. 


1 66 Just So Stories 

M is on a pale gray shell. 

N is a piece of what is called porphyry with a nose scratched on it 
(Tegumai spent five months polishing this stone.) 

is a piece of oyster-shell with a hole in the middle. 

P and Q are missing. They were lost, a long time ago, in a great 
war, and the tribe mended the necklace with the dried rattles of a 
rattlesnake, but no one ever found P and Q. That is how the 
saying began, ' You must mind your P's. and Q's. 

R is, of course, just a shark's tooth. 

S is a little silver snake. 

T is the end of a small bone, polished brown and shiny. 

U is another piece of oyster-shell. 

W is a twisty piece of mother-of-pearl that they found inside a big 
mother-of-pearl shell, and sawed off with a wire dipped in sand 
and water. It took Taffy a month and a half to polish it and drill 
the holes. 

X is silver wire joined in the middle with a raw garnet. (Taffy 
found the garnet.) 

Y is the carp's tail in ivory. 

ii is a bell-shaped piece of agate marked with Z-shaped stripes. They 
made the Z-snake out of one of the stripes by picking out the soft 
stone and rubbing in red sand and bee's-wax. Just in the mouth of 
the bell you see the clay bead repeating the Z-letter. 

These are all the letters. 

The next bead is a small round greeny lump of copper ore ; the next 
is a lump of rough turquoise ; the next is a rough gold nugget (what they 
call water-gold) ; the next is a melon-shaped clay bead (white with green 
spots). Then come four flat ivory pieces, with dots on them rather like 
dominoes ; then come three stone beads, very badly worn ; then two soft 
iron beads with rust-holes at the edges (they must have been magic, because 
they look very common) ; and last is a very very old African bead, like 
glass blue, red, white, black, and yellow. Then comes the loop to slip over 
the big silver button at the other end, and that is all. 

1 have copied the necklace very carefully. It weighs one pound seven 
and a half ounces. The black squiggle behind is only put in to make the 
beads and things look better. 


OF all the Tribe of Tegumai 

Who cut that figure, none remain, 

On Merrow Down the cuckoos cry 
The silence and the sun remain. 

But as the faithful years return 
And hearts unwounded sing again, 

Comes Taffy dancing through the fern 
To lead the Surrey spring again. 

Her brows are bound with bracken-fronds, 
And golden elf-locks fly above ; 

Her eyes are bright as diamonds 
And bluer than the skies above. 

In mocassins and deer-skin cloak, 
Unfearing, free and fair she flits, 

And lights her little damp-wood smoke 
To show her Daddy where she flits. 

For far oh, very far behind, 
So far she cannot call to him, 

Comes Tegumai alone to find 

The daughter that was all to him. 


The Crab that Played With the Sea 



EFORE the High and 
Ear-Off Times, O my 
Best Beloved, came the 
Time of the Very Be- 
ginnings ; and that was 
in the days when the 
Eldest Magician was 
getting Things ready. 
First he got the Earth 
ready; then he got the 
Sea ready; and then 
he told all the Animals 

that they could come out and play. And the 
Animals said, ' O Eldest Magician, what shall 
we play at ? ' and he said, * I will show you.' 
He took the Elephant All-the-Elephant-there- 
was and said, ' Play at being an Elephant/ 


172 Just So Stories 

and All -the -Elephant -there -was played. He 
took the Beaver- -All -the -Beaver -there -was - 
and said, ' Play at being a Beaver,' and All-the- 
Beaver-there-was played. He took the Cow 
All - the - Cow - there - was and said, ' Play at 
being a Cow/ and All - the - Cow - there - was 
played. He took the Turtle All- the- Turtle - 
there- was and said, * Play at being a Turtle/ 
and All -the -Turtle -there -was played. One by 
one he took all the beasts and birds and fishes 
and told them what to play at. 

But towards evening, when people and things 
grow restless and tired, there came up the Man 
(With his own little girl-daughter?) Yes, with 
his own best beloved little girl-daughter sitting 
upon his shoulder, and he said, 'What is this 
play, Eldest Magician?' And the Eldest 
Magician said, ' Ho, Son of Adam, this is the 
play of the Very Beginning; but you are too 
wise for this play/ And the Man saluted and 
said, Yes, I am too wise for this play ; but see 
that you make all the Animals obedient to me/ 

Now, while the two were talking together, 
Pau Amma the Crab, who was next in the 
game, scuttled off sideways and stepped into the 
sea, saying to himself, ' I will play my play alone 

The Crab that Played 173 

in the deep waters, and I will never be obedient 
to this son of Adam.' Nobody saw him go 
away except the little girl-daughter where she 
leaned on the Man's shoulder. And the play 
went on till there were no more Animals left 
without orders ; and the Eldest Magician wiped 
the fine dust off his hands and walked about the 
world to see how the Animals were playing. 

He went North, Best Beloved, and he found 
All - the - Elephant - there - was digging with his 
tusks and stamping with his feet in the nice new 
clean earth that had been made ready for him. 

' Kun ? ' said All - the - Elephant - there - was, 
meaning, * Is this right ? ' 

' Pay ah kun,' said the Eldest Magician, 
meaning, <! That is quite right ' ; and he breathed 
upon the great rocks and lumps of earth that 
All-the-Elephant-there-was had thrown up, and 
they became the great Himalayan Mountains, 
and you can look them out on the map. 

He went East, and he found All-the-Cow- 
there-was feeding in the field that had been 
made ready for her, and she licked her tongue 
round a whole forest at a time, and swallowed it 
and sat down to chew her cud. 

' Kun ? ' said All-the-Cow-there-was. 

THIS is a picture of Pau Amma the Crab running away while the Eldest 
Magician was talking to the Man and his Little Girl Daughter. The 
Eldest Magician is sitting on his magic throne, wrapped up in his Magic 
Cloud. The three flowers in front of him are the three Magic Flowers. 
On the top of the hill you can see All-the-Elephant-there-was, and All- 
the-Cow-there-was, and All-the-Turtle-there-was going off to play as the 
Eldest Magician told them. The Cow has a hump, because she was 
All-the-Cow-there-was ; so she had to have all there was for all the cows 
that were made afterwards. Under the hill there are Animals who have 
been taught the game they were to play. You can see All-the-Tiger- 
there-was smiling at All-the-Bones-there-were, and you can see All-the- 
iZlk -there - was, and All -the - Parrot- there -was, and All-the-Bunnies-there- 
were on the hill. The other Animals are on the other side of the hill, so I 
haven't drawn them. The little house up the hill is All-the-House-there- 
vvas. The Eldest Magician made it to show the Man how to make 
houses when he wanted to. The Snake round that spiky hill is All-the 
Snake-there-was, and he is talking to All-the-Monkey-there-was, and tK 
Monkey is being rude to the Snake, and the Snake is being rude to the 
Monkey. The Man is very busy talking to the Eldest Magician. The 
Little Girl Daughter is looking at Pau Amma as he runs away. That 
humpy thing in the water in front is Pau Amma. He wasn't a common 
Crab in those days. He was a King Crab. That is why he looks differ- 
ent. The thing that looks like bricks that the Man is standing in, is the 
Big Miz-Maze. When the Man has done talking with the Eldest 
Magician he will walk in the Big Miz-Maze, because he has to. The 
mark on the stone under the Man's foot is a magic mark ; and down 
underneath I have drawn the three Magic Flowers aH mixed up with the 
Magic Cloud. All this picture is Big Medicine and Strong Magic. 



The Crab that Played 177 

' Pay ah kun,' said the Eldest Magician; and 
he breathed upon the bare patch where she had 
eaten, and upon the place where she had sat 
down, and one became the great Indian Desert, 
and the other became the Desert of Sahara, and 
you can look them out on the map. 

He went West, and he found All-the-Beaver- 
there-was making a beaver-dam across the mouths 
of broad rivers that had been got ready for him. 

* Kun ? ' said All-the-Beaver-there-was. 

' Pay ah kun,' said the Eldest Magician; and 
he breathed upon the fallen trees and the still 
water, and they became the Everglades in 
Florida, and you may look them out on the 

Then he went South and found All- the - 
Turtle -there -was scratching with his flippers in 
the sand that had been got ready for him, and 
the sand and the rocks whirled through the air 
and fell far off into the sea. 

' Kun ? ' said AlI-the-Turtle-there-was. 

' Pay ah kun,' said the Eldest Magician ; and 
he breathed upon the sand and the rocks, where 
they had fallen in the sea, and they became 
the most beautiful islands of Borneo, Celebes, 
Sumatra, Java, and the rest of the Malay Archi- 

1 78 

Just So Stories 

pelago, and you can look them out on the 
map ! 

By and by the Eldest Magician met the Man 
on the banks of the Perak river, and said, : Ho ! 
Son of Adam, are all the Animals obedient to 

' Yes,' said the Man. 

' Is all the Earth obedient to you ? ' 

'Yes,' said the Man. 

* Is all the Sea obedient to you ? ' 

* No,' said the Man. ' Once a day and once 
a night the Sea runs up the Perak river and 
drives the sweet-water back into the forest, so 
that my house is made wet; once a day and 
once a night it runs down the river and draws 
all the water after it, so that there is nothing left 
but mud, and my canoe is upset. Is that the 
play you told it to play ? ' 

' No,' said the Eldest Magician. That is a 
new and a bad play.' 

* Look ! ' said the Man, and as he spoke the 
great Sea came up the mouth of the Perak river, 
driving the river backwards till it overflowed all 
the dark forests for miles and miles, and flooded 
the Man's house. 

This is wrong. Launch your canoe and we 

The Crab that Played 179 

will find out who is playing with the Sea/ said 
the Eldest Magician. They stepped into the 
canoe ; the little girl-daughter came with them ; 
and the Man took his kris a curving, wavy 
dagger with a blade like a flame, and they 
pushed out on the Perak river. Then the sea 
began to run back and back, and the canoe was 
sucked out of the mouth of the Perak river, 
past Selangor, past Malacca, past Singapore, out 
and out to the Island of Bingtang, as though it 
had been pulled by a string. 

Then the Eldest Magician stood up and 
shouted, * Ho ! beasts, birds, and fishes, that I 
took between my hands at the Very Beginning 
and taught the play that you should play, which 
one of you is playing with the Sea ? ' 

Then all the beasts, birds, and fishes said 
together, ' Eldest Magician, we play the plays 
that you taught us to play we and our children's 
children. But not one of us plays with the Sea.' 

Then the Moon rose big and full over the 
water, and the Eldest Magician said to the 
hunchbacked old man who sits in the Moon 
spinning a fishing-line with which he hopes one 
day to catch the world, Ho ! Fisher of the 
Moon, are you playing with the Sea ? ' 

180 Just So Stories 

' No,' said the Fisherman, ' I am spinning a 
line with which I shall some day catch the 
world ; but I do not play with the Sea.' And he 
went on spinning his line. 

Now there is also a Rat up in the Moon who 
always bites the old Fisherman's line as fast as it 
is made, and the Eldest Magician said to him, 
1 Ho ! Rat of the Moon, are you playing with 
the Sea ? ' 

And the Rat said, ' I am too busy biting 
through the line that this old Fisherman is spin- 
ning. I do not play with the Sea.' And he 
went on biting the line. 

Then the little girl-daughter put up her little 
soft brown arms with the beautiful white shell 
bracelets and said, * O Eldest Magician ! when 
my father here talked to you at the Very Be- 
ginning, and I leaned upon his shoulder while the 
beasts were being taught their plays, one beast 
went away naughtily into the Sea before you had 
taught him his play.' 

And the Eldest Magician said, * How wise 
are little children who see and are silent ! What 
was the beast like ? ' 

And the little girl-daughter said, * He was 
round and he was flat ; and his eyes grew upon 

The Crab that Played 181 

stalks ; and he walked sideways like this ; 
and he was covered with strong armour upon 
his back.' 

And the Eldest Magician said, How wise 
are little children who speak truth ! Now I 
know where Pau Amma went. Give me the 
paddle ! ' 

So he took the paddle ; but there was no 
need to paddle, for the water flowed steadily 
past all the islands till they came to the place 
called Pusat Tasek the Heart of the Sea where 
the great hollow is that leads down to the heart 
of the world, and in that hollow grows the 
Wonderful Tree, Pauh Janggi, that bears the 
magic twin nuts. Then the Eldest Magician 
slid his arm up to the shoulder through the deep 
warm water, and under the roots of the Won- 
derful Tree he touched the broad back of Pau 
Amma the Crab. And Pau Amma settled down 
at the touch, and all the Sea rose up as water 
rises in a basin when you put your hand into it. 

* Ah ! ' said the Eldest Magician. ' Now I 
know who has been playing with the Sea ; ' and 
he called out, ! What are you doing, Pau 
Amma ? ' 

And Pau Amma, deep down below, 

1 82 Just So Stories 

answered, ' Once a day and once a night I go 
out to look for my food. Once a day and once 
a night I return. Leave me alone.' 

Then the Eldest Magician said, ' Listen, Pau 
Amma. When you go out from your cave the 
waters of the Sea pour down into Pusat Tasek, 
and all the beaches of all the islands are left 
bare, and the little fish die, and Raja Moyang 
Kaban, the King of the Elephants, his legs 
are made muddy. When you come back and 
sit in Pusat Tasek, the waters of the Sea rise, 
and half the little islands are drowned, and the 
Man's house is flooded, and Raja Abdullah, the 
King of the Crocodiles, his mouth is filled with 
the salt water. 

Then Pau Amma, deep down below, laughed 
and said, ' I did not know I was so important. 
Henceforward I will go out seven times a day, 
and the waters shall never be still.' 

And the Eldest Magician said, ' I cannot 
make you play the play you were meant to play, 
Pau Amma, because you escaped me at the Very 
Beginning; but if you are not afraid, come up 
and we will talk about it.' 

* I am not afraid,' said Pau Amma, and he 
rose to the top of the sea in the moonlight. 

The Crab that Played 183 

There was nobody in the world so big as Pau 
Amma for he was the King Crab of all Crabs. 
Not a common Crab, but a King Crab. One 
side of his great shell touched the beach at 
Sarawak; the other touched the beach at 
Pahang; and he was taller than the smoke of 
three volcanoes ! As he rose up through the 
branches of the Wonderful Tree he tore off one 
of the great twin - fruits the magic double - 
kernelled nuts that make people young, and 
the little girl -daughter saw it bobbing along- 
side the canoe, and pulled it in and began to 
pick out the soft eyes of it with her little golden 

* Now,' said the Magician, ' make a Magic, 
Pau Amma, to show that you are really im- 

Pau Amma rolled his eyes and waved his 
legs, but he could only stir up the Sea, because, 
though he was a King Crab, he was nothing 
more than a Crab, and the Eldest Magician 

You are not so important after all, Pau 
Amma,' he said. * Now, let me try,' and he 
made a Magic with his left hand with just the 
little finger of his left hand and lo and 

THIS is the picture of Pau Amma the Crab rising out of the sea as tall as 
the smoke of three volcanoes. I haven't drawn the three volcanoes, 
because Pau Amma was so big. Pau Amma is trying to make a Magic, 
but he is only a silly old King Crab, and so he can't do anything. You 
can see he is all legs and claws and empty hollow shell. The canoe is the 
canoe that the Man and the Girl Daughter and the Eldest Magician sailed 
from the Perak river in. The sea is all black and bobbly, because Pau 
Amma has just risen up out of Pusat Tasek. Pusat Tasek is underneath, 
so I haven't drawn it. The Man is waving his curvy kris-bmfe at Pau 
Amma. The Little Girl Daughter is sitting quietly in the middle of the 
canoe. She knows she is quite safe with her Daddy. The Eldest 
Magician is standing up at the other end of the canoe beginning to make 
a Magic. He has left his magic throne on the beach, and he has taken off 
his clothes so as not to get wet, and he has left the Magic Cloud behind 
too, so as not to tip the boat over. The thing that looks like another 
Jittle canoe outside the real canoe is called an outrigger. It is a piece 
of wood tied to sticks, and it prevents the canoe from being tipped over. 
The canoe is made out of one piece of wood, and there is a paddle at one 
end of it. 


The Crab that Played 187 

behold, Best Beloved, Pau Amma's hard, blue- 
green-black shell fell off him as a husk falls off 
a cocoa-nut, and Pau Amma was left all soft 
soft as the little crabs that you sometimes find 
on the beach, Best Beloved. 

* Indeed, you are very important/ said the 
Eldest Magician. * Shall I ask the Man here to 
cut you with krisf Shall I send for Raja 
Moyang Kaban, the King of the Elephants, to 
pierce you with his tusks, or shall I call Raja 
Abdullah, the King of the Crocodiles, to bite 
you ? ' 

And Pau Amma said, ' I am ashamed ! Give 
me back my hard shell and let me go back to 
Pusat Tasek, and I will only stir out once a 
day and once a night to get my food/ 

And the Eldest Magician said, ' No, Pau 
Amma, I will not give you back your shell, for 
you will grow bigger and prouder and stronger, 
and perhaps you will forget your promise, and 
you will play with the Sea once more/ 

Then Pau Amma said, ' What shall I do ? I 
am so big that I can only hide in Pusat Tasek, 
and if I go anywhere else, all soft as I am now, 
the sharks and the dogfish will eat me. And if 
I go to Pusat Tasek, all soft as I am now, 

1 88 Just So Stories 

though I may be safe, I can never stir out to get 
my food, and so I shall die/ Then he waved 
his legs and lamented. 

* Listen, Pau Amma,' said the Eldest Magi- 
cian. * I cannot make you play the play you 
were meant to play, because you escaped me 
at the Very Beginning ; but if you choose, I 
can make every stone and every hole and 
every bunch of weed in all the seas a safe 
Pusat Tasek for you and your children for 

Then Pau Amma said, That is good, but I 
do not choose yet. Look ! there is that Man 
who talked to you at the Very Beginning. 
If he had not taken up your attention I should 
not have grown tired of waiting and run away, 
and all this would never have happened. What 
will he do for me?' 

And the Man said, * If you choose, I will 
make a Magic, so that both the deep water and 
the dry ground will be a home for you and your 
children so that you shall be able to hide both 
on the land and in the sea.' 

And Pau Amma said, * I do not choose yet. 
Look! there is that girl who saw me running 
away at the Very Beginning. If she had spoken 

The Crab that Played i 

then, the Eldest Magician would have called me 
back, and all this would never have happened. 
What will she do for me ? ' 

And the little girl-daughter said, This is a 
good nut that I am eating. If you choose, I 
will make a Magic and I will give you this pair 
of scissors, very sharp and strong, so that you 
and your children can eat cocoa-nuts like this 
all day long when you come up from the Sea to 
the land ; or you can dig a Pusat Tasek for 
yourself with the scissors that belong to you 
when there is no stone or hole near by; and 
when the earth is too hard, by the help of 
these same scissors you can run up a tree/ 

And Pau Amma said, ' I do not choose yet, 
for, all soft as I am, these gifts would not help 
me. Give me back my shell, O Eldest Magician, 
and then I will play your play.' 

And the Eldest Magician said, * I will give it 
back, Pau Amma, for eleven months of the year ; 
but on the twelfth month of every year it shall 
grow soft again, to remind you and all your 
children that I can make magics, and to keep 
you humble, Pau Amma; for I see that if you 
can run both under the water and on land, you 
will grow too bold ; and if you can climb trees 

i go Just So Stories 

and crack nuts and dig holes with your scissors, 
you will grow too greedy, Pau Amma.' 

Then Pau Amma thought a little and said, 
1 1 have made my choice. I will take all the 

Then the Eldest Magician made a Magic with 
the right hand, with all five fingers of his right 
hand, and lo and behold, Best Beloved, Pau 
Amma grew smaller and smaller and smaller, till 
at last there was only a little green crab swim- 
ming in the water alongside the canoe, crying 
in a very small voice, * Give me the scissors ! ' 

And the girl-daughter picked him up on the 
palm of her little brown hand, and sat him in 
the bottom of the canoe and gave him her 
scissors, and he waved them in his little arms, 
and opened them and shut them and snapped 
them, and said, ' I can eat nuts. I can crack 
shells. I can dig holes. I can climb trees. I 
can breathe in the dry air, and I can find a safe 
Pusat Tasek under every stone. I did not know 
I was so important. Kun ?' (Is this right ?) 

* Payah-kun,' said the Eldest Magician, and 
he laughed and gave him his blessing ; and little 
Pau Amma scuttled over the side of the canoe 
into the water ; and he was so tiny that he could 

The Crab that Played 191 

have hidden under the shadow of a dry leaf on 
land or of a dead shell at the bottom of the sea. 

Was that well done ? ' said the Eldest 

Yes, 7 said the Man. * But now we must go 
back to Perak, and that is a weary way to paddle. 
If we had waited till Pau Amma had gone out 
of Pusat Tasek and come home, the water would 
have carried us there by itself/ 

You are lazy/ said the Eldest Magician. 
' So your children shall be lazy. They shall be 
the laziest people in the world. They shall be 
called the Malazy the lazy people ; ' and he 
held up his finger to the Moon and said, * O 
Fisherman, here is the Man too lazy to row 
home. Pull his canoe home with your line, 

' No/ said the Man. * If I am to be lazy all 
my days, let the Sea work for me twice a day 
for ever. That will save paddling/ 

And the Eldest Magician laughed and said, 

' Payah kun ' (That is right). 

And the Rat of the Moon stopped biting the 
line ; and the Fisherman let his line down till it 
touched the Sea, and he pulled the whole deep 
Sea along, past the Island of Bintang, past Singa- 

192 Just So Stones 

pore, past Malacca, past Selangor, till the canoe 
whirled into the mouth of the Perak River again. 

' Kun ? ' said the Fisherman of the Moon. 

' Pay ah kun,' said the Eldest Magician. ' See 
now that you pull the Sea twice a day and twice 
a night for ever, so that the Malazy fishermen 
may be saved paddling. But be careful not to 
do it too hard, or I shall make a magic on you 
as I did to Pau Amma.' 

Then they all went up the Perak River and 
went to bed, Best Beloved. 

Now listen and attend ! 

From that day to this the Moon has always 
pulled the sea up and down and made what we 
call the tides. Sometimes the Fisher of the Sea 
pulls a little too hard, and then we get spring- 
tides ; and sometimes he pulls a little too softly, 
and then we get what are called neap-tides; 
but nearly always he is careful, because of the 
Eldest Magician. 

And Pau Amma? You can see when you 
go to the beach, how all Pau Amma's babies 
make little Pusat Taseks for themselves under 
every stone and bunch of weed on the sands ; 
you can see them waving their little scissors; 
and in some parts of the world they truly live 

The Crab that Played 193 

on the dry land and run up the palm trees and 
eat cocoa-nuts, exactly as the girl-daughter pro- 
mised. But once a year all Pau Ammas must 
shake off their hard armour and be soft to 
remind them of what the Eldest Magician could 
do. And so it isn't fair to kill or hunt Pau 
Amma's babies just because old Pau Amma was 
stupidly rude a very long time ago. 

Oh yes ! And Pau Amma's babies hate being 
taken out of their little Pusat Taseks and brought 
home in pickle-bottles. That is why they nip 
you with their scissors, and it serves you right ! 

CHINA-GOING P. and O-'s 

Pass Pau Amma's playground close, 

And his Pusat Tasek lies 

Near the track of most B.I.'s. 

U.Y.K. and N.D.L. 

Know Pau Amma's home as well 

As the fisher of the Sea knows 

'Bens,' M.M.'s, and Rubattinos. 

But (and this is rather queer) 

A.T.L.'s can not come here ; 

O. and O. and D.O.A. 

Must go round another way. 

Orient, Anchor, Bibby, Hall, 

Never go that way at all. 

U.C.S. would have a fit 

If it found itself on it. 

And if ' Beavers ' took their cargoes 

To Penang instead of Lagos, 

Or a fat Shaw-Savill bore 

Passengers to Singapore, 

Or a White Star were to try a 

Little trip to Sourabaya, 

Or a B.S.A. went on 

Past Natal to Cheribon, 

Then great Mr. Lloyds would come 

With a wire and drag them home ! 

You'll know what my riddle means 
When you've eaten mangosteens. 

Or if you can't wait till then, ask them to let you have the 
outside page of the Times ; turn over to page 2, where it is 
marked ' Shipping ' on the top left hand ; then take the Atlas 
(and that is the finest picture-book in the world) and see how the 
names of the places that the steamers go to fit into the names of 
the places on the map. Any steamer-kiddy ought to be able 
to do that ; but if you can't read, ask some one to show it you. 


The Cat that Walked by Himself 



EAR and attend and 
listen ; for this 
befell and be- 
happened and 
became and 
was, O my 
Best Beloved, 
when the Tame 

animals were wild. The Dog was wild, and the 
Horse was wild, and the Cow was wild, and the 
Sheep was wild, and the Pig was wild as wild 
as wild could be and they walked in the Wet 
Wild Woods by their wild lones. But the 
wildest of all the wild animals was the Cat. 
He walked by himself, and all places were alike 
to him. 

Of course the Man was wild too. He was 


1 98 Just So Stories 

dreadfully wild. He didn't even begin to be 
tame till he met the Woman, and she told him 
that she did not like living in his wild ways. 
She picked out a nice dry Cave, instead of a 
heap of wet leaves, to lie down in; and she 
strewed clean sand on the floor; and she lit a 
nice fire of wood at the back of the Cave ; and 
she hung a dried wild-horse skin, tail-down, 
across the opening of the Cave; and she said, 
Wipe you feet, dear, when you come in, and 
now we'll keep house.' 

That night, Best Beloved, they ate wild 
sheep roasted on the hot stones, and flavoured 
with wild garlic and wild pepper ; and wild duck 
stuffed with wild rice and wild fenugreek and 
wild coriander ; and marrow-bones of wild oxen ; 
and wild cherries, and wild grenadillas. Then 
the Man went to sleep in front of the fire ever 
so happy ; but the Woman sat up, combing her 
hair. She took the bone of the shoulder of 
mutton the big fat blade -bone and she 
looked at the wonderful marks on it, and she 
threw more wood on the fire, and she made a 
Magic. She made the First Singing Magic in 
the world. 

Out in the Wet Wild Woods all the wild 

The Cat that Walked 199 

animals gathered together where they could see 
the light of the fire a long way off, and they 
wondered what it meant. 

Then Wild Horse stamped with his wild 
foot and said, * O my Friends and O my 
Enemies, why have the Man and the Woman 
made that great light in that great Cave, and 
what harm will it do us ? ' 

Wild Dog lifted up his wild nose and smelled 
the smell of roast mutton, and said, * I will 
go up and see and look, and say ; for I think it 
is good. Cat, come with me/ 

' Nenni ! ' said the Cat. * I am the Cat who 
walks by himself, and all places are alike to me. 
I will not come/ 

' Then we can never be friends again/ said 
Wild Dog, and he trotted off to the Cave. 
But when he had gone a little way the Cat said 
to himself, ' All places are alike to me. Why 
should I not go too and see and look and come 
away at my own liking/ So he slipped after 
Wild Dog softly, very softly, and hid himself 
where he could hear everything. 

When Wild Dog reached the mouth of the 
Cave he lifted up the dried horse-skin with his 
nose and sniffed the beautiful smell of the roast 

THIS is the picture of the Cave where the Man and the Woman lived 
first of all. It was really a very nice Cave, and much warmer than it 
looks. The Man had a canoe. It is on the edge of the river, being 
soaked in the water to make it swell up. The tattery-looking thing across 
the river is the Man's salmon-net to catch salmon with. There are nice 
clean stones leading up from the river to the mouth of the Cave, so that 
the Man and the Woman could go down for water without getting sand 
between their toes. The things like black-beetles far down the beach are 
really trunks of dead trees that floated down the river from the Wet Wild 
Woods on the other bank. The Man and the Woman used to drag them 
out and dry them and cut them up for firewood. I haven't drawn the horse- 
hide curtain at the mouth of the Cave, because the Woman has just taken 
it down to be cleaned. All those little smudges on the sand between the 
Cave and the river are the marks of the Woman's feet and the Man's feet. 
The Man and the Woman are both inside the Cave eating their 
dinner. They went to another cosier Cave when the Baby came, because 
the Baby used to crawl down to the river and fall in, and the Dog had to 
pull him out. 


20 1 

The Cat that Walked 203 

mutton, and the Woman, looking at the blade- 
bone, heard him, and laughed, and said, Here 
comes the first. Wild Thing out of the Wild 
Woods, what do you want ? ' 

Wild Dog said, ' O my Enemy and Wife of 
my Enemy, what is this that smells so good in 
the Wild Woods?' 

Then the Woman picked up a roasted 
mutton-bone and threw it to Wild Dog, and 
said, * Wild Thing out of the Wild Woods, 
taste and try.' Wild Dog gnawed the bone, 
and it was more delicious than anything he had 
ever tasted, and he said, * O my Enemy and 
Wife of my Enemy, give me another.' 

The Woman said, Wild Thing out of the 
Wild Woods, help my Man to hunt through 
the day and guard this Cave at night, and I will 
give you as many roast bones as you need.' 

* Ah 1 ' said the Cat, listening. This is a 
very wise Woman, but she is not so wise as 
I am.' 

Wild Dog crawled into the Cave and laid 
his head on the Woman's lap, and said, * O 
my Friend and Wife of my Friend, I will help 
your Man to hunt through the day, and at 
night I will guard your Cave/ 

204 J ust S Stories 

' Ah ! ' said the Cat, listening. That is a 
very foolish Dog.' And he went back through 
the Wet Wild Woods waving his wild tail, 
and walking by his wild lone. But he never 
told anybody. 

When the Man waked up he said, What is 
Wild Dog doing here ? ' And the Woman 
said, * His name is not Wild Dog any more, but 
the First Friend, because he will be our friend 
for always and always and always. Take him 
with you when you go hunting.' 

Next night the Woman cut great green 
armfuls of fresh grass from the water-meadows, 
and dried it before the fire, so that it smelt like 
new-mown hay, and she sat at the mouth of the 
Cave and plaited a halter out of horse-hide, and 
she looked at the shoulder of mutton -bone 
at the big broad blade -bone and she made a 
Magic. She made the Second Singing Magic 
in the world. 

Out in the Wild Woods all the wild animals 
wondered what had happened to Wild Dog, and 
at last Wild Horse stamped with his foot and 
said, ' I will go and see and say why Wild 
Dog has not returned. Cat, come with me/ 

* Nenni ! ' said the Cat. * I am the Cat who 

The Cat that Walked 205 

walks by himself, and all places are alike to me. 
I will not come/ But all the same he followed 
Wild Horse softly, very softly, and hid himself 
where he could hear everything. 

When the Woman heard Wild Horse tripping 
and stumbling on his long mane, she laughed 
and said, ' Here comes the second. Wild Thing 
out of the Wild Woods what do you want ? ' 

Wild Horse said, ' O my Enemy and Wife 
of my Enemy, where is Wild Dog ? ' 

The Woman laughed, and picked up the 
blade-bone and looked at it, and said, ; Wild 
Thing out of the Wild Woods, you did not come 
here for Wild Dog, but for the sake of this good 

And Wild Horse, tripping and stumbling on 
his long mane, said, ! That is true ; give it me 
to eat.' 

The Woman said, Wild Thing out of the 
W T ild Woods, bend your wild head and wear 
what I give you, and you shall eat the wonderful 
grass three times a day.' 

* Ah,' said the Cat, listening, ' this is a clever 
Woman, but she is not so clever as I am.' 

Wild Horse bent his wild head, and the 
Woman slipped the plaited hide halter over it, 

THIS is the picture of the Cat that Walked by Himself, walking by his 
wild lone through the Wet Wild Woods and waving his wild tail. There 
is nothing else in the picture except some toadstools. They had to grow 
there because the woods were so wet. The lumpy thing on the low 
branch isn't a bird. It is moss that grew there because the Wild Woods 
were so wet. 

Underneath the truly picture is a picture of the cozy Cave that the 
Man and the Woman went to after the Baby came. It was their summer 
Cave, and they planted wheat in front of it. The Man is riding on the 
Horse to find the Cow and bring her back to the Cave to be milked. He 
is holding up his hand to call the Dog, who has swum across to the other 
side of the river, looking for rabbits. 


The Cat that Walked 209 

and Wild Horse breathed on the Woman's feet 
and said, * O my Mistress, and Wife of my 
Master, I will be your servant for the sake of the 
wonderful grass/ 

'Ah,' said the Cat, listening, 'that is a very 
foolish Horse.' And he went back through the 
Wet Wild Woods, waving his wild tail and walk- 
ing by his wild lone. But he never told anybody. 

When the Man and the Dog came back from 
hunting, the Man said, What is Wild Horse 
doing here ? ' And the Woman said, E His 
name is not Wild Horse any more, but the First 
Servant, because he will carry us from place to 
place for always and always and always. Ride 
on his back when you go hunting.' 

Next day, holding her wild head high that 
her wild horns should not catch in the wild 
trees, Wild Cow came up to the Cave, and the 
Cat followed, and hid himself just the same as 
before; and everything happened just the same 
as before ; and the Cat said the same things as 
before , and when Wild Cow had promised to 
give her milk to the Woman every day in ex- 
change for the wonderful grass, the Cat went 
back through the Wet Wild Woods waving 
his wild tail and walking by his wild lone, 

2io Just So Stories 

just the same as before. But he never told 
anybody. And when the Man and the Horse 
and the Dog came home from hunting and 
asked the same questions same as before, the 
Woman said, ' Her name is not Wild Cow 
any more, but the Giver of Good Food. She 
will give us the warm white milk for always and 
always and always, and I will take care of her 
while you and the First Friend and the First 
Servant go hunting/ 

Next day the Cat waited to see if any other 
Wild thing would go up to the Cave, but no 
one moved in the Wet Wild Woods, so the Cat 
walked there by himself ; and he saw the Woman 
milking the Cow, and he saw the light of the 
fire in the Cave, and he smelt the smell of the 
warm white milk. 

Cat said, ' O my Enemy and Wife of my 
Enemy, where did Wild Cow go ? ' 

The Woman laughed and said, 'Wild Thing 
out of the Wild Woods, go back to the Woods 
again, for I have braided up my hair, and I have 
put away the magic blade-bone, and we have no 
more need of either friends or servants in our 

Cat said, ' I am not a friend, and I am not 

The Cat that Walked 211 

a servant. I am the Cat who walks by himself, 
and I wish to come into your cave.' 

Woman said, ' Then why did you not come 
with First Friend on the first night ? ' 

Cat grew very angry and said, ' Has Wild 
Dog told tales of me ? ' 

Then the Woman laughed and said, ; You 
are the Cat who walks by himself, and all places 
are alike to you. Your are neither a friend nor 
a servant. You have said it yourself. Go away 
and walk by yourself in all places alike/ 

Then Cat pretended to be sorry and said, 
1 Must I never come into the Cave ? ' Must I 
never sit by the warm fire? Must I never 
drink the warm white milk? You are very 
wise and very beautiful. You should not be 
cruel even to a Cat.' 

Woman said, ' I knew I was wise, but I did 
not know I was beautiful. So I will make a 
bargain with you. If ever I say one word in 
your praise you may come into the Cave.' 

' And if you say two words in my praise ? ' 
said the Cat. 

* I never shall/ said the Woman, ' but if I 
say two words in your praise, you may sit by 
the fire in the Cave.' 

212 Just So Stories 

' And if you say three words ? ' said the Cat. 

1 1 never shall,' said the Woman, ' but if I 
say three words in your praise, you may drink 
the warm white milk three times a day for 
always and always and always/ 

Then the Cat arched his back and said, 
' Now let the Curtain at the mouth of the Cave, 
and the Fire at the back of the Cave, and the 
Milk-pots that stand beside the Fire, remember 
what my Enemy and the Wife of my Enemy has 
said/ And he went away through the Wet 
Wild Woods waving his wild tail and walking 
by his wild lone. 

That night when the Man and the Horse 
and the Dog came home from hunting, the 
Woman did not tell them of the bargain that 
she had made with the Cat, because she was 
afraid that they might not like it. 

Cat went far and far away and hid himself in 
the Wet Wild Woods by his wild lone for a 
long time till the Woman forgot all about him. 
Only the Bat the little upside-down Bat that 
hung inside the Cave, knew where Cat hid ; and 
every evening Bat would fly to Cat with news 
of what was happening. 

One evening Bat said, * There is a Baby 

The Cat that Walked 213 

in the Cave. He is new and pink and fat and 
small, and the Woman is very fond of him/ 

* Ah,' said the Cat, listening, (! but what is the 
Baby fond of ? ' 

1 He is fond of things that are soft and tickle,' 
said the Bat. ' He is fond of warm things to 
hold in his arms when he goes to sleep. He is 
fond of being played with. He is fond of all 
those things/ 

'Ah,' said the Cat, listening, 'then my 
time has come.' 

Next night Cat walked through the Wet 
Wild Woods and hid very near the Cave till 
morning-time, and Man and Dog and Horse 
went hunting. The Woman was busy cooking 
that morning, and the Baby cried and inter- 
rupted. So she carried him outside the Cave 
and gave him a handful of pebbles to play with. 
But still the Baby cried. 

Then the Cat put out his paddy paw and 
patted the Baby on the cheek, and it cooed; 
and the Cat rubbed against its fat knees and 
tickled it under its fat chin with his tail. And 
the Baby laughed; and ths Woman heard him 
and smiled. 

Then the Bat the little upside-down Bat 

214 Just So Stories 

that hung in the mouth of the Cave said, * O my 
Hostess and Wife of my Host and Mother of my 
Host's Son, a Wild Thing from the Wild Woods 
is most beautifully playing with your Baby.' 

' A blessing on that Wild Thing whoever he 
may be,' said the Woman, straightening her 
back, * for I was a busy woman this morning 
and he has done me a service.' 

The very minute and second, Best Beloved, 
the dried horse-skin Curtain that was stretched 
tail-down at the mouth of the Cave fell down 
woosh! because it remembered the bargain she 
had made with the Cat, and when the Woman 
went to pick it up lo and behold ! the Cat 
was sitting quite comfy inside the Cave. 

' O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy and 
Mother of my Enemy,' said the Cat, 'it is I : for 
you have spoken a word in my praise, and now 
I can sit within the Cave for always and always 
and always. But still I am the Cat who walks 
by himself, and all places are alike to me/ 

The Woman was very angry, and shut her 
lips tight and took up her spinning-wheel and 
began to spin. 

But the Baby cried because the Cat had gone 
away, and the Woman could not hush it, for it 

The Cat that Walked 215 

struggled and kicked and grew black in the 

* O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy and 
Mother of my Enemy/ said the Cat, 'take a 
strand of the wire that you are spinning and 
tie it to your spinning-whorl and drag it along 
the floor, and I will show you a magic that shall 
make your Baby laugh as loudly as he is now 

' I will do so/ said the Woman, ' because I 
am at my wits' end ; but I will not thank you 
for it/ 

She tied the thread to the little clay spindle- 
whorl and drew it across the floor, and the Cat 
ran after it and patted it with his paws and 
rolled head over heels, and tossed it backward 
over his shoulder and chased it between his 
hind-legs and pretended to lose it, and pounced 
down upon it again, till the Baby laughed as 
loudly as it had been crying, and scrambled 
after the Cat and frolicked all over the Cave till 
it grew tired and settled down to sleep with the 
Cat in its arms. 

* Now/ said the Cat, ' I will sing the Baby a 
song that shall keep him asleep for an hour/ 
And he began to purr, loud and low, low and 

216 Just So Stories 

loud, till the Baby fell fast asleep. The Woman 
smiled as she looked down upon the two of 
them and said, ' That was wonderfully done. 
No question but you are very clever, O Cat/ 

That very minute and second, Best Beloved, 
the smoke of the fire at the back of the Cave 
came down in clouds from the roof puff I 
because it remembered the bargain she had 
made with the Cat, and when it had cleared 
away lo and behold ! the Cat was sitting 
quite comfy close to the fire. 

* O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy and 
Mother of My Enemy/ said the Cat, * it is I, for 
you have spoken a second word in my praise, 
and now I can sit by the warm fire at the back 
of the Cave for always and always and always. 
But still I am the Cat who walks by himself, and 
all places are alike to me/ 

Then the Woman was very very angry, and 
let down her hair and put more wood on the 
fire and brought out the broad blade-bone of 
the shoulder of mutton and began to make a 
Magic that should prevent her from saying a 
third word in praise of the Cat. It was not a 
Singing Magic, Best Beloved, it was a Still 
Magic ; and by and by the Cave grew so still 

The Cat that Walked 217 

that a little wee-wee mouse crept out of a corner 
and ran across the floor. 

* O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy and 
Mother 'of my Enemy/ said the Cat, * is that 
little mouse part of your magic ? ' 

* Ouh 1 Chee ! No indeed ! ' said the Woman, 
and she dropped the blade-bone and jumped 
upon the footstool in front of the fire and 
braided up her hair very quick for fear that the 
mouse should run up it. 

* Ah/ said the Cat, watching, ' then the 
mouse will do me no harm if I eat it ? ' 

* No,' said the Woman, braiding up her hair, 
* eat it quickly and I will ever be grateful to 

Cat made one jump and caught the little 
mouse, and the Woman said, * A hundred thanks. 
Even the First Friend is not quick enough to 
catch little mice as you have done. You must 
be very wise.' 

That very moment and second, O Best 
Beloved, the Milk -pot that stood by the fire 
cracked in two pieces ffft because it remem- 
bered the bargain she had made with the Cat, 
and when the Woman jumped down from the 
footstool lo and behold 1 the Cat was lapping 

218 Just So Stories 

up the warm white milk that lay in one of the 
broken pieces. 

' O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy and 
Mother of my Enemy/ said the Cat, * it is I ; for 
you have spoken three words in my praise, and 
now I can drink the warm white milk three 
times a day for always and always and always. 
But still I am the Cat who walks by himself, and 
all places are alike to me/ 

Then the Woman laughed and set the Cat 
a bowl of the warm white milk and said, C O 
Cat, you are as clever as a man, but remember 
that your bargain was not made with the Man 
or the Dog, and I do not know what they will 
do when they come home/ 

' What is that to me ? ' said the Cat. ' If I 
have my place in the Cave by the fire and my 
warm white milk three times a day I do not 
care what the Man or the Dog can do.' 

That evening when the Man and the Dog 
came into the Cave, the Woman told them all the 
story of the bargain while the Cat sat by the 
fire and smiled. Then the Man said, Yes, but 
he has not made a bargain with me or with all 
proper Men after me/ Then he took off his 
two leather boots and he took up his little 

The Cat that Walked 219 

stone axe (that makes three) and he fetched 
a piece of wood and a hatchet (that is five 
altogether), and he set them out in a row and 
he said, ' Now we will make our bargain. If 
you do not catch mice when you are in the Cave 
for always and always and always, I will throw 
these five things at you whenever I see you, and 
so shall all proper Men do after me.' 

'Ah,' said the Woman, listening, 'this is a 
very clever Cat, but he is not so clever as my 

The Cat counted the five things (and they 
looked very knobby) and he said, * I will catch 
mice when I am in the Cave for always and 
always and always ; but still I am the Cat who 
walks by himself, and all places are alike to me.' 

'Not when I am near,' said the Man. 'If 
you had not said that last I would have put all 
these things away for always and always and 
always ; but I am now going to throw my two 
boots and my little stone axe (that makes three) 
at you whenever I meet you. And so shall all 
proper Men do after me ! ' 

Then the Dog said, ' Wait a minute. He has 
not made a bargain with me or with all proper 
Dogs after me.' And he showed his teeth 

220 Just So Stories 

and said, ' If you are not kind to the Baby while 
I am in the Cave for always and always and 
always, I will hunt you till I catch you, and 
when I catch you I will bite you. And so shall 
all proper Dogs do after me/ 

* Ah,' said the Woman, listening, ' this is a 
very clever Cat, but he is not so clever as the 

Cat counted the Dog's teeth (and they looked 
very pointed) and he said, ' I will be kind to 
the Baby while I am in the Cave, as long as 
he does not pull my tail too hard, for always 
and always and always. But still I am the Cat 
that walks by himself, and all places are alike 
to me.' 

' Not when I am near, 7 said the Dog. ' If 
you had not said that last I would have shut my 
mouth for always and always and always ; but 
now I am going to hunt you up a tree whenever 
I meet you. And so shall all proper Dogs do 
after me.' 

Then the Man threw his two boots and his 
little stone axe (that makes three) at the Cat, 
and the Cat ran out of the Cave and the Dog 
chased him up a tree ; and from that day to 
this, Best Beloved, three proper Men out of five 

The Cat that Walked 221 

will always throw things at a Cat whenever they 
meet him, and all proper Dogs will chase him up a 
tree. But the Cat keeps his side of the bargain 
too. He will kill mice and he will be kind to 
Babies when he is in the house, just as long as 
they do not pull his tail too hard. But when 
he has done that, and between times, and when 
the moon gets up and night comes, he is the 
Cat that walks by himself, and all places are alike 
to him. Then he goes out to the Wet Wild 
Woods or up the Wet W T ild Trees or on the Wet 
Wild Roofs, waving his wild tail and walking by 
his wild lone. 

PUSSY can sit by the fire and sing, 

Pussy can climb a tree, 
Or play with a silly old cork and string 

To 'muse herself, not me. 
But I like Binkie my dog, because 

He knows how to behave ; 
So, Binkie' s the same as the First Friend was 

And I am the Man in the Cave. 

Pussy will play man-Friday till 

It's time to wet her paw 
And make her walk on the window-sill 

(For the footprint Crusoe saw) ; 
Then she fluffles her tail and mews, 

And scratches and won't attend. 
But Binkie will play whatever I choose, 

And he is my true First Friend; 

Pussy will rub my knees with her head 

Pretending she loves me hard ; 
But the very minute I go to my bed 

Pussy runs out in the yard, 
And there she stays till the morning-light ; 

So I know it is only pretend ; 
But 'Binkie, he snores at my feet all night, 

And he is my Firstest Friend ! 


The Butterfly that Stamped 


HIS, O my Best Beloved, 
is a story a new and 
a wonderful story a 
story quite different 
from the other stories 
a story about The 
Most Wise Sovereign 
Suleiman - bin - Daoud 
Solomon the Son of 

There are three 

hundred and fifty-five stories about Suleiman- 
bin-Daoud ; but this not one of them. It is 
not the story of the Lapwing who found the 
Water ; or the Hoopoe who shaded Suleiman- 
bin-Daoud from the heat. It is not the story 
of the Glass Pavement, or the Ruby with the 
Crooked Hole, or the Gold Bars of Balkis. It 
is the story of the Butterfly that Stamped. 


226 Just So Stories 

Now attend all over again and listen ! 

Suleiman-bin-Daoud was wise. He under- 
stood what the beasts said, what the birds said, 
what the fishes said, and what the insects said. 
He understood what the rocks said deep under 
the earth when they bowed in towards each 
other and groaned ; and he understood what the 
trees said when they rustled in the middle of the 
morning. He understood everything, from the 
bishop on the bench to the hyssop on the wall, 
and Balkis, his Head Queen, the Most Beautiful 
Queen Balkis, was nearly as wise as he was. 

Suleiman-bin-Daoud was strong. Upon the 
third finger of the right hand he wore a ring. 
When he turned it once, Afrits and Djinns came 
out of the earth to do whatever he told them. 
When he turned it twice, Fairies came down 
from the sky to do whatever he told them ; and 
when he turned it three times, the very great 
angel Azrael of the Sword came dressed as a 
water-carrier, and told him the news of the 
three worlds, Above Below and Here. 

And yet Suleiman-bin-Daoud was not proud. 
He very seldom showed off, and when he did 
he was sorry for it. Once he tried to feed all 
the animals in all the world in one day, but 

The Butterfly that Stamped 227 

when the food was ready an Animal came out of 
the deep sea and ate it up in three mouthfuls. 
Suleiman - bin - Daoud was very surprised and 
said, ' O Animal, who are you ? ' And the 
Animal said, * O King, live for ever ! I am the 
smallest of thirty thousand brothers, and our 
home is at the bottom of the sea. We heard 
that you were going to feed all the animals in 
all the world, and my brothers sent me to ask 
when dinner would be ready/ Suleiman-bin- 
Daoud was more surprised than ever and said, 
' O Animal, you have eaten all the dinner that I 
made ready for all the animals in the world.' 
And the Animal said, ' O King, live for ever, but 
do you really call that a dinner ? Where I come 
from we each eat twice as much as that between 
meals.' Then Suleiman-bin-Daoud fell flat on 
his face and said, * O Animal ! I gave that 
dinner to show what a great and rich king I was, 
and not because I really wanted to be kind to 
the animals. Now I am ashamed, and it serves 
me right/ Suleiman-bin-Daoud was a really 
truly wise man, Best Beloved. After that he 
never forgot that it was silly to show off; and 
now the real story part of my story begins. 

He married ever so many wifes. He married 

THIS is the picture of the Animal that came out of the sea and ate up all 
the food that Suleiman-bin-Daoud had made ready for all the animals in 
all the world. He was really quite a nice Animal, and his Mummy was 
very fond of him and of his twenty-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety- 
nine other brothers that lived at the bottom of the sea. You know that 
he was the smallest of them all, and so his name was Small Porgies. 
He ate up all those boxes and packets and bales and things that had been 
got ready for all the animals, without ever once taking off the lids or 
untying the strings, and it did not hurt him at all. The sticky-up masts 
behind the boxes of food belong to Suleiman-bin-Daoud's ships. They 
were busy bringing more food when Small Porgies came ashore. He did 
not eat the ships. They stopped unloading the foods and instantly sailed 
away to sea till Small Porgies had quite finished eating. You can see 
some of the ships beginning to sail away by Small Porgies' shoulder. I 
have not drawn Suleiman-bin-Daoud, but he is just outside the picture, 
very much astonished. The bundle hanging from the mast of the ship in 
the corner is really a package of wet dates for parrots to eat. I don't 
know the names of the ships. That is all there is in that picture. 



The Butterfly that Stamped 231 

nine hundred and ninety-nine wives, besides the 
Most Beautiful Balkis; and they all lived in a 
great golden palace in the middle of a lovely 
garden with fountains. He didn't really want 
nine-hundred and ninety-nine wives, but in those 
days everybody married ever so many wives, and 
of course the King had to marry ever so many 
more just to show that he was the King. 

Some of the wives were nice, but some were 
simply horrid, and the horrid ones quarrelled 
with the nice ones and made them horrid too, 
and then they would all quarrel with Suleiman- 
bin-Daoud, and that was horrid for him. But 
Balkis the Most Beautiful never quarrelled 
with Suleiman-bin-Daoud. She loved him too 
much. She sat in her rooms in the Golden 
Palace, or walked in the Palace garden, and was 
truly sorry for him. 

Of course if he had chosen to turn his ring 
on his finger and call up the Djinns and the 
Afrits they would have magicked all those nine 
hundred and ninety-nine quarrelsome wives into 
white mules of the desert or greyhounds or 
pomegranate seeds; but Suleiman-bin-Daoud 
thought that that would be showing off. So, 
when they quarrelled too much, he only walked 

232 Just So Stories 

by himself in one part of the beautiful Palace 
gardens and wished he had never been born. 

One day, when they had quarrelled for three 
weeks all nine hundred and ninety-nine wives 
together - - Suleiman - bin - Daoud went out for 
peace and quiet as usual ; and among the orange 
trees he met Balkis the Most Beautiful, very 
sorrowful because Suleiman -bin -Daoud was so 
worried. And she said to him, ' O my Lord 
and Light of my Eyes, turn the ring upon your 
finger and show these Queens of Egypt and 
Mesopotamia and Persia and China that you are 
the great and terrible King.' But Suleiman-bin- 
Daoud shook his head and said, ' O my Lady 
and Delight of my Life, remember the Animal 
that came out of the sea and made me ashamed 
before all the animals in all the world because 
I showed off. Now, if I showed off before these 
Queens of Persia and Egypt and Abyssinia and 
China, merely because they worry me, I might 
be made even more ashamed than I have been.' 

And Balkis the Most Beautiful said, ' O my 
Lord and Treasure of my Soul, what will you 

And Suleiman-bin-Daoud said, ' O my Lady 
and Content of my Heart, I shall continue to 

The Butterfly that Stamped 233 

endure my fate at the hands of these nine hun- 
dred and ninety-nine Queens who vex me with 
their continual quarrelling.' 

So he went on between the lilies and the 
loquats and the roses and the cannas and the 
heavy-scented ginger-plants that grew in the 
garden, till he came to the great camphor-tree 
that was called the Camphor Tree of Suleiman- 
bin-Daoud. But Balkis hid among the tall 
irises and the spotted bamboos and the red lillies 
behind the camphor-tree, so as to be near her 
own true love, Suleiman-bin-Daoud. 

Presently two Butterflies flew under the tree, 

Suleiman-bin-Daoud heard one say to the 
other, ' I wonder at your presumption in talk- 
ing like this to me. Don't you know that if I 
stamped with my foot all Suleiman-bin-Daoud's 
Palace and this garden here would immediately 
vanish in a clap of thunder.' 

Then Suleiman-bin-Daoud forgot his nine 
hundred and ninety-nine bothersome wives, and 
laughed, till the camphor -tree shook, at the 
Butterfly's boast. And he held out his finger 
and said, ' Little man, come here.' 

The Butterfly was dreadfully frightened, but 

234 J ust So Stories 

he managed to fly up to the hand of Suleiman- 
bin-Daoud, and clung there, fanning himself. 
Suleiman-bin-Daoud bent his head and whispered 
very softly, * Little man, you know that all your 
stamping wouldn't bend one blade of grass. 
What made you tell that awful fib to your wife ? 
for doubtless she is your wife/ 

The Butterfly looked at Suleiman-bin-Daoud 
and saw the most wise King's eye twinkle like 
stars on a frosty night, and he picked up his 
courage with both wings, and he put his head on 
one side and said, * O King, live for ever. She 
is my wife ; and you know what wives are like/ 

Suleiman-bin-Daoud smiled in his beard and 
said, 'Yes, / know, little brother/ 

' One must keep them in order somehow/ 
said the Butterfly, ' and she has been quarrelling 
with me all the morning. I said that to 
quiet her/ 

And Suleiman-bin-Daoud said, * May it quiet 
her. Go back to your wife, little brother, and 
let me hear what you say/ 

Back flew the Butterfly to his wife, who was 
all of a twitter behind a leaf, and she said, ' He 
heard you ! Suleiman-bin-Daoud himself heard 
you ! ' 

The Butterfly that Stamped 235 

1 Heard me ! ' said the Butterfly. ' Of course 
he did. I meant him to hear me.' 

'And what did he say? Oh, what did 
he say ? ' 

'Well/ said the Butterfly, fanning himself 
most importantly, ' between you and me, my 
dear of course I don't blame him, because his 
Palace must have cost a great deal and the 
oranges are just ripening, he asked me not to 
stamp, and I promised I wouldn't.' 

' Gracious ! ' said his wife, and sat quite 
quiet; but Suleiman-bin-Daoud laughed till the 
tears ran down his face at the impudence of the 
bad little Butterfly. 

Balkis the Most Beautiful stood up behind 
the tree among the red lilies and smiled to her- 
self, for she had heard all this talk. She thought, 
1 If I am wise I can yet save my Lord from the 
persecutions of these quarrelsome Queens,' and 
she held out her finger and whispered softly to 
the Butterfly's Wife, 'Little woman, come' here.' 
Up flew the Butterfly's Wife, very frightened, 
and clung to Balkis's white hand. 

Balkis bent her beautiful head down and 
whispered, ' Little woman, do you believe what 
your husband has just said ? ' 

236 Just So Stories 

The Butterfly's Wife looked at Balkis, and 
saw the most beautiful Queen's eyes shining like 
deep pools with starlight on them, and she 
picked up her courage with both wings and said, 
1 Queen, be lovely for ever. You know 
what men-folk are like.' 

And the Queen Balkis, the Wise Balkis of 
Sheba, put her hand to her lips to hide a smile 
and said, ' Little sister, / know.' 

They get angry,' said the Butterfly's Wife, 
fanning herself quickly, ' over nothing at all, but 
we must humour them, O Queen. They never 
mean half they say. If it pleases my husband 
to believe that I believe he can make Suleiman- 
bin-Daoud's Palace disappear by stamping his 
foot, I'm sure / don't care. He'll forget all 
about it to-morrow.' 

4 Little sister,' said Balkis, * you are quite 
right ; but next time he begins to boast, take 
him at his word. Ask him to stamp, and see 
what will happen. VFe know what men-folk 
are like, don't we ? He'll be very much 

Away flew the Butterfly's Wife to her 
husband, and in five minutes they were quar- 
relling worse than ever. 

The Butterfly that Stamped 237 

' Remember ! ' said the Butterfly. * Re- 
member what I can do if I stamp my foot.' 

' I don't believe you one little bit/ said the 
Butterfly's Wife. ' I should very much like to 
see it done. Suppose you stamp now.' 

'I promised Suleiman- bin -Daoud that I 
wouldn't,' said the Butterfly, ' and I don't want 
to break my promise.' 

* It wouldn't matter if you did,' said his wife. 
You couldn't bend a blade of grass with your 
stamping. I dare you to do it,' she said. 
1 Stamp ! Stamp ! Stamp ! ' 

Suleiman-bin-Daoud, sitting under the cam- 
phor-tree, heard every word of this, and he 
laughed as he had never laughed in his life 
before. He forgot all about his Queens ; he 
forgot all about the Animal that came out of the 
sea ; he forgot about showing off. He just 
laughed with joy, and Balkis, on the other 
side of the tree, smiled because her own true 
love was so joyful. 

Presently the Butterfly, very hot and puffy, 
came whirling back under the shadow of the 
camphor-tree and said to Suleiman, * She wants 
me to stamp ! She wants to see what will 
happen, O Suleiman-bin-Daoud ! You know I 

238 Just So Stories 

can't do it, and now she'll never believe a word 
I say. She'll laugh at me to the end of 
my days ! ' 

1 No, little brother/ said Suleiman- bin - 
Daoud, ' she will never laugh at you again,' and 
he turned the ring on his finger just for the 
little Butterfly's sake, not for the sake of showing 
off, and, lo and behold, four huge Djinns came 
out of the earth ! 

4 Slaves/ said Suleiman -bin -Daoud, 'when 
this gentleman on my finger ' (that was where the 
impudent Butterfly was sitting) * stamps his left 
front forefoot you will make my Palace and 
these gardens disappear in a clap of thunder. 
When he stamps again you will bring them 
back carefully.' 

' Now, little brother,' he said, ' go back to 
your wife and stamp all you've a mind to.' 

Away flew the Butterfly to his wife, who 
was crying, ' I dare you to do it ! I dare you 
to do it ! Stamp ! Stamp now ! Stamp ! ' 
Balkis saw the four vast Djinns stoop down to 
the four corners of the gardens with the Palace 
in the middle, and she clapped her hands softly 
and said, 'At last Suleiman-bin-Daoud will do 
for the sake of a Butterfly what he ought to have 

The Butterfly that Stamped 239 

done long ago for his own sake, and the 
quarrelsome Queens will be frightened 1 ' 

Then the Butterfly stamped. The Djinns 
jerked the Palace and the gardens a thousand 
miles into the air : there was a most awful 
thunder-clap, and everything grew inky -black. 
The Butterfly's Wife fluttered about in the dark, 
crying, * Oh, I'll be good ! I'm so sorry I spoke. 
Only bring the gardens back, my dear darling 
husband, and I'll never contradict again.' 

The Butterfly was nearly as frightened as his 
wife, and Suleiman-bin-Daoud laughed so much 
that it was several minutes before he found breath 
enough to whisper to the Butterfly, ' Stamp 
again, little brother. Give me back my Palace, 
most great magician/ 

' Yes, give him back his Palace,' said the 
Butterfly's Wife, still flying about in the dark 
like a moth. * Give him back his Palace, and 
don't let's have any more horrid magic.' 

* W T ell, my dear,' said the Butterfly as bravely 
as he could, * you see what your nagging has 
led to. Of course it doesn't make any difference 
to me I'm used to this kind of thing but as 
a favour to you and to Suleiman-bin-Daoud I 
don't mind putting things right.' 

THIS is the picture of the four gull-winged Djinns lifting up Suleiman- 
bin-Daoud's Palace the very minute after the Butterfly had stamped. The 
Palace and the gardens and everything came up in one piece like a board, 
and they left a big hole in the ground all full of dust and smoke. If you 
look in the corner, close to the thing that looks like a lion, you will see 
Suleiman-bin-Daoud with his magic stick and the two Butterflies behind 
him. The thing that looks like a lion is really a lion carved in stone, and 
the thing that looks like a milk-can is really a piece of a temple or a house 
or something. Suleiman-bin-Daoud stood there so as to be out of the way 
of the dust and the smoke when the Djinns lifted up the Palace. I don't 
know the Djinns' names. They were servants of Suleiman-bin-Daoud's 
magic ring, and they changed about every day. They were just common 
gull-winged Djinns. 

The thing at the bottom is a picture of a very friendly Djinn called 
Akraig. He used to feed the little fishes in the sea three times a day, 
and his wings were made of pure copper. I put him in to show you what 
a nice Djinn is like. He did not help to lift the Palace. He was busy 
feeding little fishes in the Arabian Sea when it happened. 


24 1 

The Butterfly that Stamped 243 

So he stamped once more, and that instant 
the Djinns let down the Palace and the gardens, 
without even a bump. The sun shone on the 
dark-green orange leaves; the fountains played 
among the pink Egyptian lilies ; the birds went 
on singing, and the Butterfly's Wife lay on her 
side under the camphor -tree waggling her 
wings and panting, * Oh, I'll be good ! I'll 
be good ! ' 

Suleiman-bin-Daoud could hardly speak for 
laughing. He leaned back all weak and hic- 
coughy, and shook his finger at the Butterfly 
and said, * O great wizard, what is the sense of 
returning to me my Palace if at the same time 
you slay me with mirth ! ' 

Then came a terrible noise, for all the nine 
hundred and ninety-nine Queens ran out of the 
Palace shrieking and shouting and calling for 
their babies. They hurried down the great 
marble steps below the fountain, one hundred 
abreast, and the Most Wise Balkis went statelily 
forward to meet them and said, What is your 
trouble, O Queens ? ' 

They stood on the marble steps one hundred 
abreast and shouted, ' What is our trouble ? 
We were living peacefully in our golden palace, 

244 J ust So Stories 

as is our custom, when upon a sudden the 
Palace disappeared, and we were left sitting in a 
thick and noisome darkness ; and it thundered, 
and Djinns and Afrits moved about in the 
darkness ! That is our trouble, O Head Queen, 
and we are most extremely troubled on account 
of that trouble, for it was a troublesome trouble, 
unlike any trouble we have known/ 

Then Balkis the Most Beautiful Queen 
Suleiman- bin -Daoud's Very Best Beloved 
Queen that was of Sheba and Sabie and the 
Rivers of the Gold of the South from the Desert 
of Zinn to the Towers of Zimbabwe Balkis, 
almost as wise as the Most Wise Suleiman-bin- 
Daoud himself, said, ' It is nothing, O Queens ! 
A Butterfly has made complaint against his wife 
because she quarrelled with him, and it has 
pleased our Lord Suleiman-bin-Daoud to teach 
her a lesson in low-speaking and humbleness, 
for that is counted a virtue among the wives of 
the butterflies/ 

Then up and spoke an Egyptian Queen 
the daughter of a Pharoah and she said, * Our 
Palace cannot be plucked up by the roots like 
a leek for the sake of a little insect. No ! 
Suleiman-bin-Daoud must be dead, and what 

The Butterfly that Stamped 245 

we heard and saw was the earth thundering and 
darkening at the news/ 

Then Balkis beckoned that bold Queen 
without looking at her, and said to her and to 
the others, * Come and see/ 

They came down the marble steps, one 
hundred abreast, and beneath his camphor- 
tree, still weak with laughing, they saw the 
Most Wise King Suleiman-bin-Daoud rocking 
back and forth with a Butterfly on either hand, 
and they heard him say, * O wife of my 
brother in the air, remember after this, to please 
your husband in all things, lest he be provoked 
to stamp his foot yet again ; for he has said that 
he is used to this magic, and he is most eminently 
a great magician one who steals away the very 
Palace of Suleiman-bin-Daoud himself. Go in 
peace, little folk ! ' And he kissed them on the 
wings, and they flew away. 

Then all the Queens except Balkis the Most 
Beautiful and Splendid Balkis, who stood apart 
smiling fell flat on their faces, for they said, 
4 If these things are done when a Butterfly is 
displeased with his wife, what shall be done to us 
who have vexed our King with our loud-speaking 
and open quarrelling through many days ? ' 

246 Just So Stories 

Then they put their veils over their heads, and 
they put their hands over their mouths, and they 
tiptoed back to the Palace most mousy-quiet. 

Then Balkis--The Most Beautiful and Ex- 
cellent Balkis went forward through the red 
lilies into the shade of l the camphor-tree and 
laid her hand upon Suleiman - bin - Daoud's 
shoulder and said, * O my Lord and Treasure of 
my Soul, rejoice, for we have taught the Queens 
of Egypt and Ethiopia and Abyssinia and Persia 
and India and China with a great and a memor- 
able teaching. 1 

And Suleiman-bin-Daoud, still looking after 
the Butterflies where they played in the sunlight, 
said, ' O my Lady and Jewel of my Felicity, 
when did this happen ? For I have been jesting 
with a Butterfly ever since I came into the 
garden/ And he told Balkis what he had 

Balkis The tender and Most Lovely Balkis 
said, ' O my Lord and Regent of my Existence, 
I hid behind the camphor-tree and saw it all. 
It was I who told the Butterfly's Wife to ask the 
Butterfly to stamp, because I hoped that for the 
sake of the jest my Lord would make some 
great magic and that the Queens would see it 

The Butterfly that Stamped 247 

and be frightened/ And she told him what the 
Queens had said and seen and thought. 

Then Sueliman-bin-Daoud rose up from his 
seat under the camphor-tree, and stretched his 
arms and rejoiced and said, * O my Lady and 
Sweetener of my Days, know that if I had made 
a magic against my Queens for the sake of pride 
or anger, as I made that feast for all the animals, 
I should certainly have been put to shame. But 
by means of your wisdom I made the magic for 
the sake of a jest and for the sake of a little 
Butterfly, and behold it has also delivered me 
from the vexations of my vexatious wives ! Tell 
me, therefore, O my Lady and Heart of my 
Heart, how did you come to be so wise ? ' 

And Balkis the Queen, beautiful and tall, 
looked up into Suleiman-bin-Daoud's eyes and 
put her head a little on one side, just like the 
Butterfly, and said, ' First, O my Lord, because 
I loved you ; and secondly, O my Lord, because 
I know what women-folk are.' 

Then they went up to the Palace and lived 
happily ever afterwards. 

But wasn't it clever of Balkis ? 

, , 

, ' 



I I 





THERE was never a Queen like Balkis, 
From here to the wide world's end ; 

But Balkis talked to a butterfly 
As you would talk to a friend. 

There was never a King like Solomon, 

Not since the world began ; 
But Solomon talked to a butterfly 

As a man would talk to a man. 

She was Queen of Sabaea 

And he was Asia's Lord 
But they both of 'em talked to butterflies 

When they took their walks abroad ! 




<& V 

NS. i 

\. /T: 

V\ c 


I \\ 


lA^f ' * "*'' '< 

**k.*d^*"** \ 'g-.Vt-* 

'/ ^-w-